As editor of O.A.R. it’s my job to occasionally relegate an assignment that may not be the most popular. BUT… when it comes to the Toronto Fringe, the entire team are gung Ho. So, we decided to attempt to even increase our coverages. Then, disaster struck. Two columnists had some surprise business problems arise; Danny has the ‘flu [102.3°F]; and then T.O. has a flood! Still, we’ll do the best we can. I promise.
St. Francis Talks to the Birds
Helen Gardiner Phelan
For those of you who don’t know, it was believed that St. Francis of Assisi could communicate with animals. This play, St. Francis Talks to the Animals, presents an encounter between Francis and two hungry vultures.
By combining various cultural motifs and ideological outlooks, including unsuitable accents and their corresponding stereotypes, the trio increasingly clash to the point of absurdity, aka character development. The use of shtick, although entertaining and well done, didn’t really add anything to the play’s content. Overall, a brilliant concept, in need of some cultivation.
Factory Theatre, mainstage
Fuck Shakespeare has nothing to do with him. I love Shakespeare, and there’s a reason we’re still reading his work: – character development… the method in which we learn to deal with life’s bullshit. Take our protagonist, Jamie (played by Kevin Leask), a depressed playwright, and his best friend Owen (played by James Aaron). The two have written themselves into a play they’re trying to finish. As the play within the play develops, one begins to truly see how Jamie and Owen see themselves via a spectacular performance by Leask and Aaron. In addition to their performance, Fuck Shakespeare is a great success for the entire cast and crew, very well written. G.C.
“Mercury” is not a particularly abstract subject: a planet, a metal, a pagangod, or a rockstar. Yet, it’s my opinion that this “tribute to all things mercury” in the form of contemporary dance (a mix of jazz, modern, andballet) has left its interpretation up to the audience. Despite very capable dancers, I was looking for more substance or coherence.
There might be criticisms of Almost, Maine, but like its theme, if you take a step back you can appreciate the big picture so much more: A series of couples are presented in no particular order, their interactions used to examine different phases of a relationship. The final couple deliver this theme through a painting that required the same approach. Overall, a strong performance.
(OH) Helen Gardiner
A dynamic and refreshing glimpse into the often ridiculous world of dance The duo from Los Angeles received a standing ovation after their final knee-slapping performance on Saturday July 13th. Full shtick, communication with the audience, and lots of talent.
This Prison Or: He Came through the Floor
A thought provoking story of a man in denial, rudely interrupted by someone trying to rescue him. Although very well performed, the play’s tone was both comical and grim in parts, which wasn’t the ideal combination, resulting in the compromise of the play’s ending. Nonetheless, both Benjamin Wert and Johnny Wideman delivered exceptional and entertaining performances
Terry Pratchet’s Monstrous etc.
This play was performed in a small, upstairs bar on Bloor Street. It was hot, crowded, uncomfortable, and there was no area equivalent to a stage, so it was more difficult to focus on the performance. However, the performance itself was quite impressive. The choice of venue also meant that there would be no set changes, next to no backstage, and no buffer zone from the audience. Whether or not this was due to the location, some actors were a bit stiff in body language and just waited for their lines. The actor who performed as the Sergeant carried the entire play, I wish their names had been listed somewhere!
St. Francis talks to the animals
For those of you who don’t know, it was believed that St. Francis of Assisi could communicate with animals. This play, St. Francis Talks to the Animals, presents an encounter between Francis and two hungry vultures. By combining various cultural motifs and ideological outlooks, including unsuitable accents and their corresponding stereotypes, the trio increasingly clash to the point of absurdity, aka character development. The use of shtick, although entertaining and well done, didn’t really add anything to the play’s content. Overall, a brilliant concept, in need of some cultivation.
One of the most professional shows I’ve seen at the Fringe. Although it’s about the acting, little things considered secondary can make all the difference to produce the ideal show and environment: music, programmes, stage hands to help with set changes etc,. Daryl, played by Dan Cristofori has become a drunk burden on the shoulders of his sister Maddy, played by Angela Brown, and her husband Rick, played by Romaine Waite. The family struggle to keep their house and their home together during tough times in a town built around a coal mine in addition to Daryl’s struggle with alcoholism. A bittersweet ending is nice, once in a while too, and I got mine at Killcreek. Congratulations to the entire cast and crew- absolutely brilliant.