My Theatre

07 July 2018

Toronto Fringe ’18: Part II

By // Theatre (Toronto)

Be sure to check out our Full List of Fringe Reviews

Harvey and The Extraordinary (A+)
At once exploring childlike glee and darker undertones of more adult concepts of coping with loss through the lens of youth, Harvey and the Extraordinary is a stripped down play in a garage of one young Mimi, or The Extraordinary. Alongside her hamster pal Harvey and some scribbled visual aids, Mimi the Mime shares her slice of life through a performance that is at once touching and funny, painful and sweet, and heavily audience-reliant. Eliza Martin shines in a challenging venue with some ordinary, extra ordinary, and extraordinary props.

La Femme Kabarett (A)
An extensive cast of dancers and incredible costuming, La Femme Kabarett unabashedly toys with female energy. Set in a bar complete with tables and chairs, the cast of dancers writhe sensually over the stage, at times meandering in the background to chat animatedly with the bartender, or amongst each other whilst holding cigarettes loftily in their fingers. Filtering through the crowd and at the edges of the stage, the cast gives a very good feel for having completely dominated the space as they lounge cat-like in the wings. Perhaps the only detriment is that with so many on stage at once, it is difficult at times to drink it all in.

Echoes (B)
Omnika in Motion is a Vancouver-based group of four exploring the interplay of light and dark at the Factory Theatre mainspace. Alex Papaconstantinou, Isabella Jade, Nikki Mae, and Rowynn Lloyd weave and twine a story of two women and their ‘shadows’ through diverse dance backgrounds and thumping, slithering electronic musical accompaniment. With some clever use of flashlights and shadow screens, the dancers are a visual representation of the shadow parts of us all… and how seductive that darkness can be. Personified shadow and light through use of costuming makes for a clear, if safe exploration through mirrored and sometimes stuttering motion.

in threes (B)
This contemporary dance show by choreographers Alison Daley, Miles Gosse and Tracey Norman is a beautiful contrast of furtive touches and almost violent movements. Justine Comfort, Denise Solleza, Oriah Wiersma and Miles Gosse all move beautifully in an enjoyable trio of mini-performances. Each dancer commits forcefully at times, colliding with and twirling around each other while never seeming to lose control. This movement quality is backed by a musical track that fades in and out at the perfect moments, carefully silhouetting the three distinct styles presented. The choreography is solid and engaging throughout, with the second piece ‘The Feeling of Knowing’ including some interesting work with a chair. Miles has an incredible stage presence in particular in the third piece titled ‘You threw me off’, making audiences chuckle with small comedic flairs. The first, titled ‘(an)other’ is the most poignant, however; the duo act of Justine and Denise is the highlight of these pieces by far.

Upstream Downtown (D)
Set in Toronto, Sojo and Beagle (played by creators Morgan Johnson and Alexandra Simpson) play literal salmon out of water. With some physical comedy and live music, the two seem to flail just as much on stage as the creatures they’re characterizing. When not screeching at each other in a pantomime of sisterhood, they’re emulating phalluses with fishing rods and nimbly dodging making any point at all outside of being anti fish-farming. One is left wondering if it was intended to be educational, though the script stops far from being so. At one point during the performance, Sojo asked an audience member where he got his shoes. Wittily, he responded “The Bay,” and unfortunately that line turned out to be the funniest bit of this show.

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