Week two of the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival is upon us, and we’re counting up our rave reviews from our hard-won list of 149 reviews of the entire (review-eligible) festival! Plenty of those shows have been marked as RAVES by our reviewers, and we’re here today to highlight a few more of them!
What’s a rave, you might ask? Simply put: our reviewer loved it. Sometimes a rave is ‘I’d see that a second, third, fourth time’; sometimes a rave is ‘I’m STILL thinking about this show days later’; sometimes it’s as simple as ‘I had a really fabulous time at this show.’
Really, it’s all subjective, because theatre is subjective. These raves caught our reviewers’ attention, though–perhaps they’ll snag yours as well?
Death Ray Cabaret (Death Ray Cabaret)
What it’s about: “Second City veterans Jordan Armstrong and Kevin Matviw are back from the Edinburgh Fringe with a quick-witted musical comedy show that explores everything from libraries to a graveyard bash.”
Why our reviewer loved it: “If Death Ray Cabaret is “about” anything, it’s modern anxiety, and the lengths we go to in order to convince ourselves that everything is fine; it’s about the twisted absurdity that underlies our fears. But perhaps that’s assigning too much meaning to things; really, it’s just a solid hoot, so sit back and listen to some random, completely untrue facts.”
Destiny, USA (Convection Productions)
What it’s about: “From the creator of hit solo shows Pitch Blonde and The Homemaker! When Laura moves from Toronto to Syracuse, New York, she wasn’t expecting to be residing in Trump’s America. Gaining her first job as a relay operator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing causes her to question if she can discover the hidden humanity of the American people. This production integrates ASL video performance featuring three Deaf actors, and closed captioning.”
Why our reviewer loved it: “The show explores the idea that there’s a lot of injustice in the world, and it’s hard to stay passive…Destiny, USA is clearly a personal story for Harris, but she takes a more conversational approach to its heavier themes that I think makes it feel more universal. Things happen, life isn’t fair, and the only takeaway is that we need to do better as people…It’s direct, to the point, and I think spectacularly well-done.”
Fuckboys the Musical (Generation Productions)
What it’s about: “One part musical, one part rom-com and one part TED Talk, this show follows a group of four girlfriends through their Wednesday night karaoke get-togethers as they try to survive the epidemic known as ‘fuckboys’.”
Why our reviewer loved it: “Bring your girlfriends, your boyfriends, your parents, your dog (but not actually unless they are a trained support animal), and your neighbor to see this show. The music is tight, the writing is polished, and the jokes land. I laughed the whole time.”
Drama 101, A New Musical (Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts)
What it’s about: “When the students of Roselawn High School gather to celebrate the retirement of their favourite teacher, memories are shared, rivalries surface, and love blossoms. Featuring a cast of young artists ages 13-19, Drama 101 is a funny and heartwarming new musical about the joys and challenges of high school, theatre, and life.“
Why our reviewer loved it: “The way Gallagher and Wong have written the show incorporating feedback from the young actors means those little slice-of-life moments and observations in the songs just ring through with so much clarity and feel so honest. The material really enables this talented young cast to shine. […] I found myself watching with a lump in my throat throughout much of the show, not because it was a particularly emotional moment on stage, but because I was experiencing pangs of nostalgia. This show brought me right back to my own high school drama days. “