Offensive to Some by Tickahdeeboo Productions is the one-woman show gracing the Annex Theatre for Toronto’s Fringe Festival. The seats were packed and the the crowd was pumped for the star Suzanne Roberts Smith to hold our attention. It’s a difficult task, commanding the attention of an audience for an hour, but Smith made it look like a piece of cake.
The play was written by Newfoundland and Labrador playwright Berni Stapleton. Stapleton was inspired by Catherine Mandeville Snow who was the final woman in Newfoundland to be hung for killing her spouse. Stapleton created a modern version of Snow. Smith plays the contemporary representation of a woman driven to murder her husband, along with a Newfie accent.
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Fracture opened at the Randolph Theatre to a small audience. Granted it was three in the afternoon on a Friday, so this did not leave a bad impression. Though it was a sparse crowd, the Women’s Dance Collective commanded attention for their first performance at Toronto Fringe 2013.
Fracture is a combination of two contemporary dance performances laden with different emotional meanings. The first act “Pod” is choreographed by Alida Nyquist- Schultz, who is also one of the two performers, along with Ainsley Hillyard. The second act is “Shatterstate,” where Ainsley Hillyard returns with Kate Stashko and Alison Kause, the choreographer.
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2 For Tea by Life and Depth bring comedy and a bit of improv to Randolph Theatre for Toronto Fringe 2013. The play involves six characters, two of which are played by the writers/main performers Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles. The other four characters are selected from the audience, most of them being cherry-picked from the front row.
The play begins with Aaron Malkin (James) and Alastair Knowles (Jamesy) having a simple tea party. The tea drinking is accompanied by Jamesy’s perfectionist habits and physical comedy. Jamesy pivots and lunges with the grace of a classical dancer, while James is the agreeable straight-man. The chemistry between the two works impeccably. Through the performing alchemy of Malkin and Knowles, tea drinking becomes fascinating.
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Supperfesta! by Take Your Mark Productions is a hilarious force to be reckoned with at Toronto Fringe 2013. The cast of Natasha Boomer, Craig Lauzon, James Jabbour, and Jessie Behan up the comedic ante with every passing minute. It felt like Robert Gill Theatre was shaking with laughter.
Supperfesta! is about Betty (Boomer), who decides to throw a dinner party so that she can inspect her younger sister Rose’s (Behan) new beau Tim (Jabbour). With the encouragement of her husband Dean (Lauzon), the dinner party turns into more than a nice get-together. The event brings forth secrets between old and new couples, as well as the jealous nature between sisters. So, the event that begins as dinner slowly transforms into a “supperfesta”.
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The Servant of Two Masters, presented by Fly With Us at Factory Theatre, is a modern take on Carlo Goldoni’s Commedia dell’arte play about about the chaos brought about from an opportunistic servant. The servant, Truffaldino, fools Beatrice – who is disguised as her dead brother Federigo – and Florindo into thinking he is a loyal servant to each of them alone. Things become hectic as he attempts to hide the fact that he in fact has two employers and two payments.
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Good Girl by barking birds theatre is a one woman show playing at the Annex Pawn. The Fringe performance is small, but it carries a hefty weight. The drama is more powerful than it appears.
Tanya Rintoul plays Layla who wishes to be like her mother said she was: “a good girl.” Layla feels a mixture of emotions about a mysterious incident, which she slowly reveals throughout the sixty minute performance. She allows herself and the audience to wonder if her goodness exists or not.
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Charming Monsters is a play presented by Afterglow Theatre at Toronto Fringe 2013. The drama claims it is a “play about the monster in us all”, using six characters to demonstrate the lust, greed, and violence. The drama takes place in a small town where a too-charming man, Henry, stirs up trouble with the surrounding women.
Even after having watched the play, it is hard to understand what Charming Monsters is about. Is it about the seductions and affairs of Henry, who tries to get into the beds of the whole female cast? Is it about magic and mythology, since Catherine finds herself connected with a mysterious beast? Is it about the trials of sisterhood and the troubles of the more neglected Cassandra?
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“Birdbath” at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle is a charming production, full of personality.
Still & Moving Theatre is presenting Birdbath by Leonard Melfi at Toronto’s Red Sandcastle Theatre. Melfi, a deceased American playwright, has written many plays but Birdbath, first produced in 1965, is the most well-known of his work.
I attended the opening night on June 19th with my mother, Alice. We walked into the small venue and saw three long rows of chairs. The chairs were facing one side of the room designed as an old fashioned diner. I was handed a pamphlet and saw the description: “…a short, sweet, disturbing night at the theatre”. Having watched the play, I would say the description was very fitting.
Continue reading Review: Birdbath (Still & Moving Theatre)