Honeymoon: Played Out, produced by Ok, theatre and now playing in the 2021 Virtual Toronto Fringe Festival, bills itself as a “curated arts spree featuring over a dozen new and exciting young artists.” This is its second installment, the first being a live event in 2019 before the world shut down.
As the company title’s sly reference to the “Ok, boomer” meme suggests, this is a show filled with young talents hoping to blast their way past the establishment into recognition. As its previous live incarnation suggests, it closely resembles a chill night at a trendy, grooving open mic in a downtown warehouse, but with better transitions. While it loses some of its vibe in the digital translation, it’s funky fresh enough.
Jaek Eastcott and Spencer Glassman act as self-deprecating emcees introducing the acts, which include animation, poetry, video, and lots of music. There’s a thin thematic thread of loneliness running through the production, which takes care to occasionally show the reality of the green screen behind the neon projections.
However, you will probably enjoy the show more if you watch it as a tasting platter of talent, a wave washing over you, rather than anything cohesive. If that’s not your thing, this won’t be, either.
Over the breathless half hour, we’re introduced to the musical stylings of Huxlii (Sabrina Carrizo Sztainbok), Parisunltd, and Funké Joseph. They perform via green screen, in front of an indoor art exhibit by Isaac Roberts that features an encroaching forest inside a bedroom, a mighty tree sprouting from the floor. Each singer performs two numbers at different points in the show.
Huxlii’s soft punk music is pleasantly melancholy, declaring, “I want everything I can’t have,” and encouraging us all to throw our own pity party. Parisunltd’s first offering has a generic beat and tune uplifted by an energetic performance. In his second song, he reveals a lovely, smooth voice that let me better concentrate on the quirky lyrics that sometimes go in strange directions — such as this highlight from the first number: “I’ve got nothing but respect for that ass.”
Funké Joseph delivers two short but fun raps suffused with nerdy pop culture references, like a scroll through a Tumblr feed: “You be makin’ jokes like your last name McElroy…baby you so hot/let’s get matching crocs…I wanna shawty built like Ice Man.”
The occasional striking image stands out: poet Lillian Ross-Millard’s opening embrace with a skeleton, herself clad in skeleton-print sweats; Jennifer Law-Smith’s animation in constant morphing motion; an illustration of a disappointing lottery ticket in Kenneth Collins’ $14.40. Pony Nicole Herauf’s spoof of a vapid online content creator (Mattie Driscoll), making an “apology” video for impersonating a celebrity, adds some welcome humour to the proceedings.
This show’s a bit of a grab bag, but that’s to be expected. If you’re into a trippy, largely narrative-free open mic, you might enjoy the energy everyone brings to this one. If you’re not, you might be a little mystified.
- Honeymoon: Played Out is playing on-demand at the Virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival.
- Purchase a $5 Membership to access the On-Demand programming on the Fringe website, then Pay What You Can to each show as you go, with the suggested price of $13 per show.
- Memberships can be purchased here. View the virtual on-demand show listings here.
- Accessibility notes:
- On-Demand shows: videos are closed captioned, transcripts are available for all audio content, documents are screen-reader friendly, and all digital images are provided with alternative text descriptions. These access supplements have been generated by the company and reviewed by the Festival. They may vary slightly from company to company.
- Fringe Primetime presentations will feature Auto-Transcribed Captioning.
- Content warning: This show is not recommended for persons under 14 years of age, and features sexual content and swearing.
- Read all of Mooney on Theatre’s 2021 Virtual Toronto Fringe Festival coverage here.