toronto fringe

Fairy Tale Ending
Although this show from Role Your Own Theatre is part of the Fringe Kids programming, they have obviously not sacrificed quality or attention to detail just because their youthful target audience are perhaps not as discriminating as more experienced theatre-goers. In fact there is a real maturity to this piece about Jill, a girl whose favourite fairy tales’ endings have suddenly been turned on their heads; unlike many kids shows which end neatly and toothlessly or with a simplistic moral statement, Fairy Tale Ending rests on a far more complex and profound note than...

Jack Frost folk are left to right: Aaron Knight (Diktak Montag), Jackie Pijper (Trudy Montag), Michael Balazo (Jack Frost), Kathleen Phillips (Mayor)

Powerpoint-utilizing autobiographical storyteller extraordinaire Barry Smith is back with a show that is billed as being about his habit of keeping every record, photo, and scrap of personal information that passes through his life, but is more accurately about his colourful youth spent growing up in backwater Mississippi and southern California.

Barry Smith.

Metro sparkles with vivacity and real experience. It’s a dance creation by Linette Doherty that puts a lens on how people interact on public transit. It’s funny, touching and uplifting in tone. All that’s on top of the dancing, which seamlessly combines ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap and well, everything.  


This latest offering from under-recognized writer/director Maya Rabinovitch is yet another fantastic example of how ensemble casts can be used to great effect, but does lack some of the narrative elegance of her previous works.

Double Double: From left: Erin Fleck, Claire Acott, Daniel Sadavoy, Kate Kudelka, Jaclyn Zaltz, Matthew Eger, Shannon Currie, Perrie Olthuis Photo by Dan Epstein

This award-winning comedy about three neurotic tenants living in a New York apartment building, their never-seen mutual friend Larry, and a seemingly impossible love triangle is a must see for writers of any ilk. The script from Vancouver-born playwright Melissa James Gibson (produced here by Theatre Best/Before) is precise, linguistically rich, and contains some truly phenomenal one-liners.


Alison Lynne Ward delivers an honest, funny one-woman show in ¼ Life Crisis. It’s a lively monologue about the struggles of being twenty-something, single and an artist with too many degrees and no career worth mentioning. The show is revealing, relatable and had the audience falling out of their chairs with laughter. The disappointment was the ending, which was a sadly cliché.

Alison at the quarter-mark

Clown sisters Morro and Jasp (Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee) continue their roll of Fringe successes with this increasingly mature tale of sexual awakening, substance use, and teenage identity forming. Based on that description you may be thinking Spring Awakening more than “charming Fringe show”, but don’t be fooled - it is charming in spades.

Morro and Jasp

These perennial Fringe favourites, Die Roten Punkte, have come a long way. Forgive the subjective first person, but I saw them when they first came to Toronto and were stuck, with many of the other international companies, in the visually interesting but small and stiflingly hot Robert Gill Theatre (thankfully no longer in use by the Fringe). Despite this technical disadvantage they still managed to rock the house with their pint-size but full volume instruments and obviously made a lasting impression given that their audiences have been growing ever since.

Die Roten Punkte

With hints of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey (and Catalyst Theatre for you Canadian theatre nerds), this uber-stylish satire about a turn of the century town besieged by a mysterious and deadly plague offers a rich audience experience. Director Rosanna Saracino (and the rest of the large collaborative team from Randolph Entertainment and REDHANDED Theatre) bring Eugene Ionesco’s vignette-based script to life with lively blocking, admirably cartoon-like performances, and many a subtle touch like the inclusion of caricatures of William Shatner and Sarah Palin.

The Killing Game

This condensed adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s work from Harley Dog Productions is commendable on every level. Dedicated and authentic performances from the cast make the literary and monologue heavy script come alive, elegant direction allows the audience to stay immersed and engaged, and an above average set and production design lend it appropriate spit and polish.

Andrew Bunker as Bernard; Photo by Mar Images