Fringe Picks 2016 – Part 2

9 Jul

It’s the final weekend of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival! Here are a few more productions that left us impressed:

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Credit: Joe Della Posta

Orson Welles / Shylock
This polished production written and directed by Matt Chiorini, and performed by Chiorini, Drew Gripe, Brittany Fayle, and Vincent Randazzo is a true Fringe gem. It recounts the colourful life of film and theatre legend Orson Welles, capturing and illuminating both his larger-than-life persona and ego in vivid detail. Using his obsession with the Merchant of Venice, and more specifically the classic “outsider” character of Shylock, as a thematic framework, the production manages to create a cohesive through-line that ties the brisk 70 minutes together in elegant and meaningful fashion. Both the staging and performances are expertly done, with each of the performers taking on the titular role at different at points of his life to create a particularly three-dimensional portrait of the mercurial legend.

 

peter_cannot_quite_reach_parisRomeo and Juliet Chainsaw Massacre
This send-up of the Shakespeare classic may be goofy and gruesome good fun, but there is nothing amateurish or half-hearted about this production. Writer/Director Matt Bernard does a great job of blending the familiar story with the tropes of the slasher-horror genre, and manages to highlight some of the original work’s logical fallacies to great comedic effect – especially that of a scene-stealing illiterate servant. The sizeable and stellar cast is a who’s-who of comedic talent who deliver hilariously overcooked performances. Kudos also goes to the production team for some surprisingly vivid and detailed costume reveals.

 

fullsizerender_1Tonight’s Cancelled
Second City and Canadian show-biz veterans Jason DeRosse and Stacey McGunnigle’s hilarious sketch revue is not only tight, smart, and performed with impressive energy, but also surprisingly heartfelt. Their choice to eschew traditional transitions and black-out gags in favour of mini-monologues that paint the not always rosy reality of working in the performing arts adds a layer of meaning to the work that elevates it as a whole. Many of their characters and sketches also share this tinge of melancholy, such as a brilliant bit about two new parents who cannot help but feel guilty for having brought a white male into the world.

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