Everybody Must Get Gladstoned
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Everybody Must Get Gladstoned

2008_07_31Gladstone.jpg The Gladstone Variations is one of the most interesting things to come to the Toronto Fringe in recent years, and now the site-specific wonder is back. Here’s what we had to say about it last year:

The Gladstone Variations is taking the Fringe by storm. And with good reason. The 90-minute piece is by Convergence Theatre, who were the team behind last year’s fantastic Autoshow, which was actually a collection of 7 ten-minute plays by different playwrights performed in and around the parking lot at Royal St. George’s. The Gladstone Variations is actually more ambitious and, amazingly, even more successful. The piece is made up of four short plays by different writers and, as the title would suggest, takes place entirely in and around the historic Gladstone Hotel. The 60 audience members are broken into groups of 15 and each is made to follow the actors of one of the plays around the hotel while they perform their show. Each group sees two of the four plays in one performance, constituting one “variation.” And that’s the brilliant marketing strategy of the show: to be able to see the entire thing, you have to go to it twice.

The same fabulous plays and cast return this year, and there are three performances left to catch of these four fascinating plays. There’s The Tearful Bride, a ghost story about a haunted concierge; Requiem For a Hotel, all about a crazy, old karaoke broad played by the hilarious Janet Amos (pictured); The Card Trick, which tells the story of a man searching for something important he has lost; and I Grow Old, a piece about an aging hotel guest.
Site-specific theatre can be a real challenge, especially in a space as busy at the Gladstone. On top of having to perform around other guests, events, and performances (last week, the show shared a stairwell with an all-male burlesque troupe), last year, an angry man with a car alarm did his best to ruin one performance, and apparently he’s been a pain this year as well. But part of the excitement of site-specific theatre is its unpredictability, and we’re sure this fantastic company copes admirably with whatever problems come its way.
The Gladstone Variations plays until Aug 3.
Photo by Aaron Willis.