It's the closing day of the Toronto Fringe Festival, and here's what the day has in store.
It’s the final day of the Toronto Fringe Festival, and what a busy day it will be. There’s closing shows happening from noon onwards—and for those hit shows that won the coveted Patron’s Pick slots for their venue, there may be two shows. We’ve posted all of the shows from our Best of Fringe post below with performances today, in order of their showtime. There’s also plenty to see and do at the Fringe Club behind Honest Ed’s, with the final Tent Talk at 4 p.m., an open mic at 6 p.m., and the reading of the 24 Hour Playwriting contest winning entry (and the festival raffle draw) at 9:30 p.m. Happy closing to all the Fringe participants!
Bound 2 Create Theatre
Sunday, July 15, 12:30 p.m.
Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
A harrowing examination of how domestic abuse can affect a community, Bound 2 Create’s production of a new play by British playwright Debbie Tucker Green goes right for the gut. Joanna (Lauren Brotman) is a woman who endures daily abuse at the hands of her partner, never seen by us, and presumably rarely seen by her neighbours, Jason (Kaleb Alexander) and Amelia (Cherissa Richards). Jason has become obsessed with listening at the paper thin wall, in a mixture of guilt, attraction, and sympathy; Amelia does her best to ignore it all, in a decaying attempt at self-preservation. The first half of the play ratchets up the tension, as the couple interacts with a Joanna they seem to imagine, at her best and worst; and just when it seems unbearable, it switches to a real life interaction between the two women. The script is pervasive and mesmerizing, and all three actors are affecting, but it’s Richards who stands out as a woman we initially resent for her seeming callousness, and later come to realize is having her life torn apart by her perceived inability to prevent the brutality that’s ruining all their lives.
The Wakowski Brothers
Aim For The Tangent Theatre
Sunday, July 15, 4:30 p.m.
St. Vlad’s Theatre (620 Spadina Avenue)
As Jimmy Wakowski will tell you, vaudeville “is serious business, it’s not Shakespeare.” He’s not kidding. Using the framework of a one-night reunion of brothers Jimmy and Conrad, eight years after their last show—with perhaps a surprise appearance from performing partner, and Jimmy’s old flame, Caitlyn Rose—the comedy eventually takes a backseat to a story of surprising depth. As they rehash all of their history together, the familiar cracks start to re-appear and soon they are struggling to keep this special night afloat.
The jokes come fast and furious, tapping into an incredibly silly place that lurks within everyone, waiting desperately for that perfect pun. It’s not surprising then that many of the songs are quite funny, but there is a tenderness to a few numbers, especially those featuring the sweet voice of Lorretta Bailey, that lend the show its heart. There is great chemistry between Derek Scott and Duff MacDonald and though Scott does not have the greatest pipes, he more than makes up for it with a performance that slowly peels back the layers on a very sad clown.
The Other Three Sisters
Nobody’s Business Theatre
**Sunday, July 15, 6:45 p.m.
St. Vladimir’s Theatre (620 Spadina Avenue)
“You never really leave the house in which you grew up” is the mantra that drives this new show from writer/director Johnnie Walker, about three sisters and their futile attempts to escape their family home in Etobicoke. Jamie Arfin is wonderfully self-involved as failed actress Gillian, and Alexandra Parravano grates perfectly as histrionic little sibling Kris. A beleaguered Morgan Norwich struggles to keep things together as the responsible Jordana.
The Etobicoke home becomes a sort of Sartrean limbo, holding the characters in stasis despite the fact that they’d all like to leave (and despite the fact that they face no obstacles to doing so). Slowly, details of the characters’ histories are revealed. These are touching, and, surprisingly, they include a paranormal twist. Walker’s script deftly explores complicated familial love-hate relationships and the desire to escape one’s past. The excellent cast—which also includes Julian De Zotti as the trio’s clumsily charming brother, Rowan—makes it a show well worth catching.
Soup Can Theatre
Sunday, July 15, 7 p.m.
Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street)
Soup Can Theatre has never shied away from ambitious projects, and they continue to push the oft limiting boundaries of the Fringe with their new staging of Sophocles’ classic political drama. The production is designed to court comparisons to the G20 and Toronto’s recent run-in with civil disobedience, though the modernized twist is subtle enough not to distract from a series of powerful emotional performances and elegant choreography. Cydney Penner’s Antigone rails against her iron-fisted father Creon (Thomas Gough) from the confines of an ad-hoc detention centre, surrounded by militant police who are all too quick with a baton. Also worth noting is Chloe Payne, who gleefully imbues her role as a simple messenger with all the blame-dodging and finger-pointing that seems too familiar in the wake of Toronto’s walled-off summit. Familiarizing yourself with the story beforehand never hurts when classics are involved, but if you do you won’t regret catching this expertly staged tragedy.
With Love and a Major Organ
**Sunday, July 15, 7:30 p.m.
Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
This delightfully absurd story about a “boy with a paper heart, conceived by two broken-hearted people,” who ends up running away with the (literal) heart of a fanciful girl he shares several subway stops with each morning is poetic, playful, and wholly original. Playwright Julia Lederer, as the passionate subway rider who gives her heart away, has many of the best lines in the endlessly quotable show: quotes like “Just plant flowers in my gut” and “I’m just spouting leftover words, like sour milk” will embed themselves in your head. Her fellow players—Robin Archer as the heart stealer who learns to feel with the purloined organ, and Martha Ross as the boy’s lonely and internet advice–taking mother—give equally memorable performances. But it’s Lederer’s lyrical flights of fancy that are the revelation here. All of the show’s advance tickets have already sold out, but this one’s worth lining up for hours to see—trust us.
[ZED.TO] ByoLogyc: Where You Become New
The Mission Business
Sunday, July 15, 7:30 p.m.
The Annex Wreckroom (794 Bathurst Street)
ByoLogyc is not your standard Fringe show. It’s not even a show by most conventional definitions. Instead, it is the opening salvo in a wide-scale interactive-narrative adventure set to run over the next eight months as parts of several arts festivals, as well as through social media. Sound complicated? It is, but it’s also crafted with obvious talent and energy, and if you’re willing to match even a fraction of said energy it promises to be a very fulfilling experience.
The events that make up ZED.TO will follow an apocalypse-level event in Toronto, with ByoLogyc setting the stage. This takes the form of a launch party for the titular biotech company‘s new designer drug, populated by the corporate senior staff and a team of new interns (i.e., the audience). The interactive, mobile format is similar to a murder mystery, where the audience members must collect what information and office gossip they can between speeches and team-building exercises. The ZED.TO team prove themselves to be capable innovators in this intricate scenario, though sharing information with your fellow interns is crucial. The party’s climax is only the beginning, setting things up for big events to come.
If you’re willing to take the plunge, we highly recommend taking a look at the extensive online material beforehand, and even signing up for the VIP Internship Program. Don’t be overwhelmed—just grab a drink, keep your ears open, and hang out next to someone chatty.
**Sunday, July 15, 9:15 p.m.
Tarragon Theatre Extra Space (30 Bridgman Avenue)
Tara Grammy knocks it out of the park in this one-woman play in which she acts as a trio of seemingly unconnected characters. Grammy steps effortlessly between personas, from the talkative Iranian taxi driver Mahmoud, to the flamboyant Spaniard Alejandro, to a histrionic teenage version of herself. Amidst uproarious laughter, the characters slowly steer themselves into each other’s paths, coming upon a few personal insights along the way. Grammy uses each character as a window through which to view Iranian culture, as well as to explore her own sense of connection to her past. Even if you’re not up for some superb character acting, the show is worth catching for the reenactment of the moving conversation between Grammy and Mahmoud that served as the show’s inspiration.
** indicates a performance that is 100 per cent pre-sale; other performances have 50 per cent of the house reserved for rush tickets.