2015 Fringe Picks: Part 5

12 Jul

Due to time constraints and the annoyingly inconvenient human need for sleep, we were unfortunately unable to cover all the shows that we thoroughly enjoyed. Even thought the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival is nearly over (single tear), here are a few late nods to works that deserve recognition:

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project – Sam Mullins explores his younger self’s inhibitions and hang-ups through a collection of personal and insightful stories. One about his father’s unexpected run-in with a has-been baseball star is particularly profound. Between his artful sense of narrative and his trademark delivery, which has a hint of rhythmic staccato, Mullins proves he is more than just your average one-person storytelling act.

High Tea– James and Jamesy, two peculiar Englishmen, take the traditional tea party to extremes in this imaginative and surreal physical comedy that features many an audience member donning costumes and playing memorable parts.

The Philanderess – Sophia Fabiilli’s modern-day take on Shaw’s The Philanderer is one part bedroom farce and one part egalitarian treatise on 21st century love and sexuality. Smart and funny, Fabiilli’s work is well supported by genial cast – especially the energetic Jakob Ehman whose performance is turned up to eleven for the entire 60 minutes.

That’s Just 5 Kids in a Trench Coat! – Sketch troupe Dame Judy Dench and director Marty Adams hit this one out of the park. Their hilarious sketch revue is characterized by clever writing and skilful performances, but it is the gently demented and often unexpected touches that elevate it from good to great.

Me With You – The topic of mental health can be tricky artistic territory if not handled with care and respect. Fortunately Myrthin Stagg and Oliver Georgiou, the creative team behind this two-hander, have clearly done their homework and the simple story that opens with a brother unexpectedly showing up at his sister’s doorstep with all his belongings makes for a moving snapshot of mental illness. Innovative staging and choreography, effective lighting design, and a strong percussive soundtrack from composer Elliot Loran all contribute to the emotional and theatrical effectiveness of the work.

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