12 July 2018
A Kev n’ Cal Mystery (A+)
A comedic play that is very reminiscent of the Hardy Boys, a Kev n’ Cal Mystery is riotously funny and nostalgic. Live ukelele accompaniment (Matt Gerber) is the perfect touch and tone, and very tastefully delivered. The timing of the actors (Allan Turner and Christopher Hedrick) is effortless and spot-on as the two boy adventurers try to solve the Mystery of the Curse of the Jade Dragon. They make fantastic use of the Annex Theatre stage, cavorting simultaneously with the comforting reminiscence of sibling rivalry and the wackiness of multi-dimensional travel. Easily one of the funnier pieces in Fringe, A Kev n’ Cal Mystery is a must-see.
Tinder on the Toilet and Other Bad Ideas (A-)
This Hip Hop comedy troupe NOTORIOUS is high-energy, topical, and very funny in regards to Toronto’s current cultural scene. With tight musical performance and suave lyrical stylings, Anthony Hall, Tricia Black, Ryan Sheedy and Mat Mailandt weave an entertaining blend of personal stories, sports references, tales of anxiety and general pet peeves (Tricia Black, for instance, belts out a frustrated jingle about not being ‘One of the Boys’ and being grossed out by casual misogyny she’s exposed to as a lesbian). the 6ix God (clips from various Drake songs) booms over the crowd, dispensing judgement and answering questions from the audience in a funny, if repetitive bit. Light in tone and silly in subject, Tinder on the Toilet is an enjoyable, inclusive performance.
Nocturnal Space (B+)
This piece delves into the abstract, with little by way of linear storyline. Five dancers from the Familiar Faces company (Robyn Bedford, Madison Burgess, Victoria Gubiani, Shaelynn Lobbezoo, and Paige Sayles) explore mixing languid, supple movements with stuttering and sharp jerks while a piercing, atonal music piece shears through the senses. Although it is slow to catch the attention initially, the truly interesting use of a long piece of black fabric is engaging and at times downright fun to watch. Their shivering, writhing forms wrapped in shadowy silk make for a slightly disturbing sight on a dimly lit stage, and the grim battle to vainly break its boundaries is rife with symbolism that is lovely to chew on.
Addiction comes in almost endless forms — food, work, drugs, mobile devices — and this piece follows seven dancers each struggling to scratch their particular itch. Kristen Pepper’s choreography is very calculated and intentional, a pleasant blend of poignancy and flair. Each movement style of character being introduced complements their addiction very well, offering up a depth of movement quality that is thoroughly engrossing. Through the course of the performance, we are forced to sit as each character is ripped apart by their own compulsions, at times moving as a group, other times interacting briefly (and sometimes negatively) on individual levels. As anyone familiar with addiction and its ravages might expect, not all characters show signs of being able to break free of their bonds.
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