photo by Aaron Safer

Take a look at our full list of 2019 Fringe reviews HERE.

Fuckboys the Musical (B)
I quite liked this sassy American import featuring a cast of a bunch of standout women and a couple forgettable men. It’s too long and the storytelling is pretty muddled as the show attempts to service four main characters while both maintaining its TED Talk conceit and transitioning beyond warning the audience about the phenomenon known as “fuckboys” to focus on personal stories that ultimately have next to nothing to do with fuckboys, but the songs are excellent (memorable, complex, varied) and the dialogue is relatively sharp. The four principal women all have great voices and, though I’d love to tell you who my favourites were, I haven’t been able to locate a house program, website, flyer, or even a press release that lists the character names so the best I can do is tell you that the heartbroken one carries the story well (if I had to guess based on inconclusive facebook stalking, I think she was the playwright Savannah Cassidy Pedersen) and the coupled up one had my favourite voice (literally no clue who she is). MAKE HOUSE PROGRAMS!

Moving On (B-)
This goofy comedy has enough story to play as a spry and deceptively complex 6o-minute piece but is unfortunately languishing in a 90-minute timeslot. Playwright Elmar Maripuu has some great ideas and is refreshingly interested in hyper-specific smalltown Ontario perspectives that are almost never seen on Toronto stages. But the play’s farcical tone runs up against pacing issues, clunky dialogue, and a couple castmembers who can’t quite hold their own and all that potential starts to just look like badly executed broad silliness that doesn’t hit nearly hard enough. Lena Maripuu valiantly battles the dreariness of the play’s opening scenes by embracing her character’s absurd annoyingness with admirable commitment but nothing really works until Conor Bradbury enters as a left behind man headed nowhere fast. As much as Bradbury’s proficiency with physical humour and high-energy storytelling can be traced to his usual troupe, it’s fun to see him out of Sex T-Rex and improv context playing a somewhat straightforward character in a somewhat straightforward play. He’s funny, sure, he’s always funny (and I feel like maybe the words “affable charm” have become simply synonymous with any Bradbury appearance) but he’s a better straight actor than he’s given credit for, grounding the key character of Drew with careful detail and authentic emotion even within the production’s overall lack of nuance. I never really bought him as the physical threat Drew is reported to be and there’s a bold accent choice that should maybe be reconsidered but the energy of Moving On skyrockets when Bradbury finally enters and he carries the play on his back straight through to the end.

Plum Crazy (D)
This play is pretty brutal and the awkward, amateur production it’s been given by Haven Theatre is even worse. The story is obvious and uninteresting, the acting is across-the-board dreadful, and the direction barely seems to exist. Perhaps the best way to sum up Plum Crazy is that it’s set in a fashion boutique yet 100% of the costumes are ill-fitting and out of style. Just brutal.