Monday, 5 July 2010

Fringe Reviews: Of Broken Brains, Bellydancing and Bewilderment

PSYCHO BITCH
by Tamara Lynn Robert
(www.pkpinup.com)
presented by P.K. Pin Up Productions from Toronto
Director: Laura Anne Harris
Genre: Play-Comedy
Audience: Mature Audience
Warning: Content, Language


DESCRIPTION:Tamara is a mood disordered, medicated sweetheart of a mess and she needs help. On her journey towards healing she battles a legion of demons, wacky therapists armed with ridiculous treatments and one shapeshifting, grotesque monster called Stigma. Her guardian angel is her ever present comfort as she tells her comedic, heartwarming tale of living with mental illness.

MY REVIEW: Considering the stigma that still shrouds mental illness, I applaud anyone who can make their diagnosis public, let alone transform the fact into a one-woman performance. Tamara Lynn Robert's has written a clear, personal narrative that will inform as well as entertain without any demands for self-pity. Pills and psychiatry may help with mood disorders, but love and human (or pet) interaction can go a long way to boosting our pleasure centres, too. Isolation has never helped anyone become a complete human being. So 1 star to Tamara for her bravery, and another 2.5 stars for her one-woman show. Rating: ***1/2 3.5 stars

Venue 6 The Solo Room
60 min.
Tue, July 6 8:30 PM - 626
Wed, July 7 6:30 PM - 629
Fri, July 9 10:30 PM - 639
Sat, July 10 8:00 PM - 643

STEP
by Audra Simmons
(thedarksidestudio.com)
presented by Lavish Dance Company from Toronto
Choreographer: Audra Simmons
Cast: Audra Simmons, Monika Field, Maddie Bolek, Victoria Buston, Heather Labonte, Danielle Davies
Genre: Dance
Audience: General Audience


DESCRIPTION: Beautiful, inspiring, enigmatic, dynamic. Lavish presents a journey in modern belly dance, a contemporary take on tradition. The fluid and sensual nature of belly dance is fused with the power and rhythmic qualities of flamenco and classical Indian dance resulting in a cutting edge style.

MY REVIEW: Hmm...well-intentions and pleasant to watch but monotonous after the first few dances. There wasn't enough variation in the dancing or the lighting to make me crave more. Sure there were some good displays of muscle isolation and lovely hand-work, but the galatic music that accompanied some of the pieces were too similar. I did enjoy a beautifully dance solo piece at end of the show, and the dance-off that featured some good work from one of the shorter dancers, but the overall presentation doesn't move beyond the level of a dance school competition piece. Rating: **1/2 2.5 stars

Venue 7 George Ignatieff Theatre
60 min.
Mon, July 5 6:15 PM - 729
Tue, July 6 8:45 PM - 736
Fri, July 9 11:00 PM - 758
Sat, July 10 2:15 PM - 760

HOUSE
by David Lennon
presented by Take Me There Productions from Montréal, QC
Genre: Play-Drama
Audience: General Audience

DESCRIPTION: Somewhere in the never ending last days or nights of the wild whirling west, a man circles like a prairie wind between building a house, caring for a crippled father who isn’t there, replaying the voices of youth and love, and chasing the four directions of the way that might’ve once been revealed to him through his dreams.

MY REVIEW: I am open to any and everything in this unjuried festival, so when I walk into a darkened space and can see only the feet of the actor, illuminated by a small lamp on the stage, I think I'm bound to see something interesting--bring on the abstract drama! So, when the lights go down and the play starts with a voice in the darkness, I'm intrigued. The actor is taking about Michelangelo and his David and a piazza and I'm following along, but when the stage lights don't go up, and the only lighting in a small lantern, after fifteen minutes I had lost track of the story and my patience with the stolid delivery of the actor. I have never walked out of a Fringe play in all the years I have been attending the theatre festival, but there is a first time for everything, right? I walked. Since I saw the performance, I have heard that the lights are now on during the show. To be honest, I doubt it will make a difference unless the actor has also improved his acting and has revised his leaden script. Rating: * 1/5 stars.

Venue 6 The Solo Room
60 min.
Tue, July 6 5:00 PM - 624
Wed, July 7 8:15 PM - 630
Thu, July 8 4:30 PM - 632
Fri, July 9 5:15 PM - 636
Sat, July 10 2:45 PM - 640

TICKETS
$10 at the door. Cash Only.
• Online $11 at http://www.fringetoronto.com/
• By Phone at 416-966-1062 or 1-866-515-7799
• In person (June 30 – July 11 only) at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street
NO LATECOMERS WILL BE ADMITTED.


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