Peanut Tree Productions presents Sweet Kiss – Tender Limbs, now playing at the Toronto Fringe. The show revolves around new motherhood and its accompanying anticipation, excitement, joy, anxiety, isolation, and insecurity.
MOM (played by Julianne Dransfield) feels her newfound fears, which slowly devolve into a darker internal force (mom, played by Katelin Richards) over the course of the show.
The show was performed and devised by Dransfield and Richards. The two performers weave in recordings of interview segments, song, poetry, movement, and dialogue to create a seamlessly interdisciplinary performance. The interview segments were all conducted with mothers.
Grounded in MOM’s encounters with new motherhood, the show explores the lack of support many new mothers face from doctors and their friends and family. The audience is reminded that motherhood requires community, but often goes without.
I found this show really engaging; at times I was laughing and at other times I had tears in my eyes. Regardless of my emotional response, my eyes were glued to the stage the whole time. I feel like Dransfield and Richards used their multidisciplinary backgrounds very effectively, ingeniously employing humour and sincerity in equitable measure.
A major aspect I quite appreciated about this show is its set design and use of props. The set is deceptively simple; over the course of the show, just about every piece has its purpose. I believe this further speaks to the creators’ meticulous devising of the show.
As evidenced by the play’s synopsis, it goes to some dark places, but ends on a hopeful note. Like a caring parent, this show is gently challenging, but takes care of the audience too. I would recommend experiencing it for yourself.
- Sweet Kiss – Tender Limbs plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: mature language; sexual content; realistic violence or gore; fog or haze effects; not recommended for children.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the front row.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Thursday July 4th, 9:30 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 8:30 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 1:30 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 6:30 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 4:30 pm
- Friday July 12th, 1:45 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 2:45 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 5:45 pm
Photo of Julianne Dransfield by Josh Skrupskas