It has long been a tradition in VIEW Magazine's coverage of the
Hamilton Fringe, going right back to the first festival in 2003, for
our team of reviewers to pick one production as their favourite show
in the Fringe. So here follows what the current team of reviewers
chose for 2022. The fringe sells a six show pass - these six
productions would be an excellent way to use one!
Critic's Pick - Bryan Boodhoo - SQUID
It's incredibly difficult to pick only one! How do you compare the
magical talents of Nick Wallace in A WORK OF FICTION with the
easy-going stand-up charm of Justin Shaw’s TALES FROM THE ISLAND BOY
PUBLIC JOURNAL? Both are excellent shows. I saw so many great shows
at the fringe this year. I wish I could multiple winners in a 30-way
tie. It would have included BULLFINCH’S MYTHOLOGY, for its daring
content and staging, THE KEY HOUSE PROJECT, for the most amazing use
of space and great youth talent, SOMETHING SMALL, SOMETHING SWEET, for
Gillian Bartolucci’s ability to bring it, and TOO BIG FOR HER BRITCHES
and DRAG ME TO THE OPERA, for Lisa Pezik’s and Steve Morton’s
generosity in bringing us along on their personal journeys in lively
and entertaining ways. And there are so many more. In the end, I
could pick only one, and that one is SQUID. Mario Lourenco picked me,
threw me down to the ground to do push ups, made me laugh, and he
turned my audience, if only for 40 minutes, into my community. Like
so many shows, this show made me a better person. Thank you to all the
artists for bearing your souls to us. Until next year.
Critic’s Choice - Tamara Kamermans - THE DISNEY DELUSION
Without reservation I recommend this solo show; with only a story Leif
Oleson-Cormack brings the house down. Not a moment passes that his
audience isn’t wondering what will happen next. The journey is never
cliché or predictable and the script is the perfect vehicle for
Oleson-Cormack’s superior comic delivery and enigmatic stage presence.
As a Fringe production, it has many of my favourite elements. It’s a
minimalistic production that travels lightly which means it can
accommodate any venue. Its genius is in its words and its performance
sets the audience at ease with its smooth professionalism. No one can
predict where this misguided, romantic road to Disney will go or end
up. Life is truly stranger than fiction and Oleson-Cormack makes sure
we laugh the entire trip. Strangely, it’s a lot like a theme park
ride: some quick turns, some screams of enjoyment, potential for
nausea, a breathless end and then you’ll want to line up and do it
again. You have to ride it at least once: trust me. It’s a must this
Critic's Pick - Rachel More - MEDITAISH
Meditaish stayed with me long after I’d seen it, and I’m honestly
thinking about seeing it again. Even though it was only 20 minutes
long, it was so smart and funny, so skillfully directed, so perfectly
performed, that it had an outsized impact on this reviewer. And I’m
willing to bet on everyone else who saw it. My friend was texting me
jokes from the show for days afterwards. With only a few days left in
this years Fringe, give yourself the gift of laughter and go see
Critic's Pick - Brian Morton - BULFINCH'S MYTHOLOGY.
I am a huge fan of Trevor Copp! His brand new play, BULFINCH'S
MYTHOLOGY, is adult mature theatre, that has something important and
compelling to say. I also admire his impeccable skills as a mime and
writer of thoughtful scripts, as well as his organizational skill, and
the selflessness of creating a venue for his own production and then
sharing it with others. Trevor Copp's work demands careful scrutiny;
and without question, I feel wiser and better for having seen this
Critic's Pick - Julian Nicholson - DRAG ME TO THE OPERA
For me, the best show of the Festival is DRAG ME TO THE OPERA. A
classically trained singer/drag queen telling the story of their life,
while at the same time teaching the audience about opera is something
new and unexpected, even for the Fringe. Steven Morton is pitch
perfect as he takes us on a journey that leads to the show we are
watching. Funny, sad, many costume changes, amazing wigs, beautiful
singing. The 60 minute show flies by, leaving you wanting more.
Absolutely the show everyone should see.
Critic's Pick - Barry M. Spinner - BOOKMARK
I also lost a copy of Helen Garner's book, "True Stories" in an
airport, in my case in New Zealand, so I deeply appreciated Corin
Raymond's solo show, about the personal impact this loss had on him,
his play is memorable, articulate and it affected me deeply as I
watched it. Corin is a wonderful storyteller, and can spin a yarn;
he draws us into the life of a touring musician, weaving a rich
tapestry of experience into the details of a "Never-ending Story". In
the end, all that remains, all we have left after the loss of loved
ones, are the stories that we tell about them. This is heartfelt and
Critic's Pick - Rozz Woodcock - SAMCA
The 2022 winner of Hamilton Fringe New Play Contest, SAMCA, scored
highest in my opinion. It was sixty minutes of charming, intelligent,
political, musical, creative and beautifully performed theatre. The
seven young women onstage held our attention throughout the sixty
minutes of the play; it was professionally staged and it engaged me
completely and I thought it best out of the productions I attended
this year. Did I mention the pretty voices? The music composed by
Kathleen Welch, and performed by the ensemble was exceptional.
Simply a must see!
SPECIAL VIEW MAGAZINE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE - KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW MUSICAL.
Those of us involved in the theatre for any length of time, can tell
you that often it can be grossly unfair. There sometimes seems to be
no rhyme or reason, why one artist is successful and another is not.
So often, in fact, the reasons why a show succeeds depends upon things
that are actually outside the control of the production itself; which
venue you end up in, the time slot you are given, the audience
demographics over who is available to attend.
So what keeps us going often is just hope. We hope for good word of
mouth, that intangible thing we call in the theatre "Buzz". If you can
get that happening about your show; typically you will do well.
Audiences will flock to attend it, and with audiences comes the most
essential thing of course, which is money. You can pay your artists,
and hopefully your rent as well.
Way back in 2018, the play that swept the festival that year, was an
original musical called B!TCH ISLAND. It also was at the Zoetic
Theatre; early performances were relatively full but then it quickly
sold out in its final weekend. For the 2022 Festival the show that
had this buzz happening, was another original musical, this one called
KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW MUSICAL.
I was fortunate to catch the show in two of its first three
performances, on Saturday and Monday. But in a cruel twist of fate,
after several members of the large company of eight actors were laid
low by the pandemic; just prior to Wednesday's performance the
production has withdrawn from the festival. Due to these unfortunate
circumstances beyond the control of the artists involved, the
recognition that was certainly due to them, will now go to some other
production in the Fringe.
So why am I writing at length about a play, that you the audience, can
no longer see in the Hamilton Fringe this year? It is because, as a
fellow fringe artist myself, I find this unbelievably cruel and
unfair, and so in consultation with the other VIEW reviewers this year
we've created a special "exceptional circumstances award of
excellence" created specially just for the crew and creative team
behind KILLING TIME.
It's also meant to extract a solemn promise for all of the artists
involved in this remarkable production that they will be determined
that their show must return: they must keep the faith, remain
committed to the production and see that it lives again!
Often the main reason why we do shows in the fringe, where we work for
just a tiny share of whatever profits the play may make, is out of the
sincere hope that someone will see the production, and offer us a
better paid gig to actually perform it!
The festival itself awards a number of prizes, including "Best of
Fringe" for the highest grossing show in the festival, "Best in Venue"
for the show with the highest gross at a particular venue in the
festival, "Audience Choice Award", which is chosen by the people who
see the production. Trust me when I say this that KILLING TIME was
going to sweep all of these awards, this coming Sunday. But now
because of their early withdrawal from the festival, it is more than
likely that some other show will take all of those honours.
KILLING TIME is certainly a play that deserves its moment in the
spotlight. It is funny, musically gifted, well directed and
choreographed, and superbly cast. I brought a very jaded musical
theatre friend along to see it on Monday night, and when the show
ended he stood and gave it a standing ovation, as did many other
audience members that night.
The production is infectious! Which I know, that is a terrible joke
to make, but it was infectious in a good way, in that it warmed the
hearts of everyone who had a chance to see it. Sadly, due to
circumstances beyond the control of the company, the audience who did
get a chance to see it in those three performances, are smaller than
what the production deserved.
Long may you all fly, long may you all soar, long may you all dream
the big dreams. Take deep, big bites, out of life I say, while you
never know what may ultimately happen; hold on to those dreams and
follow your star to where ever it may lead you! Follow that passion
and you can't go far wrong.
I'd also like to acknowledge that the director, choreographer and book
writer of this wonderful musical; Margot Greve attended Westdale High
School, which means there is a strong local connection to the
production as well. She is a credit to the teaching skills of Carm
The new Artistic Director of Theatre Aquarius, Mary Frances Moore
would be very, very remiss if she didn't find this company ten days to
perform their show in the studio, sometime in the fall or spring.
Hopefully by then, the cast will have recovered their health, and will
be in a better place to resume the run that was tragically cut short
here at the Fringe.
Again, and I cannot say this enough, they are incredibly worthy of
this recognition. While several members of the cast are just
completing their post secondary training as artists, I have no doubt
whatsoever, that ten years from now, many of this cast will be
performing in Mirvish musicals.
STILL MORE REVIEWS:
Our review team kept seeing productions, after the deadline for our
first article full of reviews. As each reviewer was assigned
productions to see, so for the next few days after that, they were
free to see whatever they wished.
Here then follows some additional reviews to help you choose what
productions to attend in the final weekend of the festival. Keep at
it Hamilton, and we will see again in 2023!
A WORK OF FICTION
BYOV # 3: Staircase Bright Room
It is always a treat to see a Nick Wallace show. He’s billed as a
magician, but I secretly believe he’s a demonic spirit. There is just
no rational explanation for the things that occur on stage. It must
be black magic.
Wallace is as masterful with the audience as he is with his magic. He
had one woman dancing on command, and convinced others into parting
with their money. He creates so much tension and intrigue, it’s
impossible not to be captivated by him.
The script and direction in this show are excellent. They keep the
show moving along at a roller coaster pace, but at the same time, they
are almost invisible and don’t intrude with Wallace’s copious amount
of talent as both a magician and a performer.
This is not a children’s magic show, but it does bring back some
childlike wonder to members of the audience. If you have not seen a
Nick Wallace show before, be prepared to be confounded and amazed.
Local Rascal Productions, Hamilton
BYOV # 4: Staircase Studio Theatre
Corin Raymond is back. The Staircase theatre is back. It’s probably
a little bit too soon to say all is good with the world, but these two
things are positive indicators. This will be Raymond’s third time
regaling audiences at the Hamilton Fringe. And this offering will be
sure not to disappoint for those familiar with his work. As with many
Raymond Fringe shows, it’s just him onstage, but as usual he is,
metaphorically, surrounded by books.
Raymond’s show is autobiographical. It tells the story of his
childhood, and is in many respects it is a love letter to his Mom,
Karen. It’s a story that’s both about books, and one that is
surrounded by books. It’s funny and insightful, and at times scary.
For anyone who is a reader, there’s nothing quite like a real paper
book, and there are parts of the show, that many of us could identify
with, like having so many books at home that it ultimately increased
the R-value of the insulation.
One book in particular captures Raymond’s attention, Helen Garner’s
True Stories. It’s a funny thing how a book, written by someone half
way around the world, grows a personality of its own.
If you’ve seen Corin Raymond before, this review is totally
unnecessary. You’ll go because, you already know how good he is, and
what he has to offer. For those who have not seen Corin Raymond, he
is a unique and masterful story teller. He threads a good yarn and
keeps the audience tight. And by the end of the night, you’ll have at
least one more book on your reading list, guaranteed.
Tottering Biped Theatre, Hamilton
BYOV # 5: Mills Hardware
I'm a huge fan of Trevor Copp; for the past 15 years now he has blazed
a wonderful trail of productions; Trevor's latest project is
BULFINCH’S MYTHOLOGY, a solo work, that is receiving its first fully
realized production, as part of the Hamilton Fringe.
The play tells a compelling story. It's a bit of history, centred on
Boston of the 1850s where Thomas Bulfinch, was an early translator of
Greek and Roman mythology lived his life. For more than a hundred
years his translations of these texts where the standard ones used in
most academic circles. It's ironic though, that he also published a
lot of moral and religious tracks in which he trashed the working
class, sex trade workers, and homosexuals.
He runs into a young man, Matthew, who attends one of his lectures in
the company of an older professor. To say much more would give a few
things away, but let me say the play is at its heart a story of
obsession, as people essentially find their authentic selves, which
also includes their sexual selves.
The play has heavy overtones of masochism and sadism, what is
remarkable though is that Copp physically creates images with his body
that are living, breathing things. He focuses on certain aspects of
mythology most notably the legend of Icarus and Daedalus, the men who
flew too close to the sun, before one fell to his death. He also
explores the myth of the Minotaur and Theseus, and Pygmalion, the
statue which is brought to life, when someone falls in love with her.
All of these myths are woven together to create something profound.
Soul Gem Theatre Productions
The Zoetic Theatre
DEDICATION is a lovely experience. This was an incredibly earnest
production, and was clearly a labor of love for playwright and
director Sondra Learn, who has skillfully written a play that explores
the relationship between a stepmother and two sisters; it is a memory
play which goes back and forth between memories of childhood; learning
to skip rope, dolls and favourite toys, memories of beloved uncles,
and the present day when a tragic death sparks realization and
understanding of those past events.
If there is one theme in all of this, it is simply that love will get
us through it. As long as those who are left stay together and support
one another that we can get through anything.
I hope that the audience will appreciate the work that went into this
production, I can say that the cast was exceptional, particularly Kyla
McCall in the role of Lucy; she earns centre stage, and this was the
key performance that drew me into the story. DEDICATION isn't without
flaws as a production, but hopefully those will work themselves out as
the run progresses.
DRAG ME TO THE OPERA
Steven Morton, Calgary
Players Guild of Hamilton Studio
DRAG ME TO THE OPERA is a gem of a one-person show. Drag shows can
attract some, repel others, and bring with them a lot of
preconceptions. Let me set the record straight: this show is nothing
like Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Rather, DRAGE ME TO THE OPERA is Steven
Morton’s personal story and love letter to opera.
Morton starts the show as the alter-ego Aida Cupcake. The audience
follows Morton on his journey from university in Calgary then
throughout the world, and eventually to German, where he’s told he’s
not good enough to be a professional. Morton’s reaction to the news,
is, well, operatic. By pursuing his dream, and not quite getting
there, Morton finds a place for himself in the world.
DRAG ME TO THE OPERA is packed with opera arias and songs Morton puts
on a remarkable performance, and does more on-stage costume changes
than you are likely to see in any fringe show this year or any year.
To me, this show shined by combining costume, singing and sincere
story-telling. This show also received a standing ovation. It would
have been hard not to stand up and cheer after watching this tour de
KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW MUSICAL
Mixtape Productions/Killing Time Productions
The Zoetic Theatre
KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW MUSICAL, is an original 75 minute play,
composed by Ben Kopp, with book by Margot Greve, who also ably
directed and choreographed it. The play debuted in Toronto this past
Unlike many of the other productions in the Hamilton Fringe this is a
show that is well rehearsed, and extremely well produced. At the
opening performance I attended, they also had a massive crowd, a huge
accomplishment right out of the gate.
The play basically focuses on a "Family Feud" type game show which the
producer Wendy Watson, played by Kendra Cordick, tells us is "the
number two show in daytime television". What follows then is a thinly
veiled rewrite of an Agatha Christie trope, where someone gets
murdered, and everyone else on stage is presumed to be a suspect. A
female detective Madeleine Murphy (Holly Scott-Black) and a clueless
cop in uniform, (Kole Durnford), then attempt to solve the crime in
Through a series of flashbacks we begin to realize that our game show
host "Sherman Sloan", played by Nick Dolan, had many secrets, and was
essentially sleeping with almost everyone. This of course creates a
lot of motives for murder including greed, jealousy, frustrated career
ambition! I must say what was so impressive about this musical, was
just how skillfully it all weaved together to provide such a
satisfying conclusion. Make no mistake, this was a very slick and
The cast particularly was of very high standard; There are at least
several performances including those of Claudia Adamo as "Emma
Everett" the crazy stalker fan, the floor manager "Todd" played by
Jawon Mapp, and Madeleine Hodges as Alexa Alberts, the put upon and
much abused showgirl. All of the cast were wonderful and gifted
performers, and deserve greater recognition.
KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW MUSICAL
Mixtape Productions/Killing Time Productions
The Zoetic Theatre
This is a big show, with a multitude of characters, ensemble singing
numbers and a live band, brought to the Hamilton by Margot Greve and
Ben Kopp. The show was previously in Toronto in May of this year were
it received large audience and very positive reviews. These, in my
opinion, are well deserved. The show bills itself as being
“unapologetically fun”, and it lives up to the billing
The audience is brought into the story on the night of a game show,
hosted by the smarmy Sloane Sherman. Lights out. Murder. Sloane is
dead. What starts off as a game show turns into a murder mystery. Of
course, none of this is too serious. KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW
MUSICAL is a parody of both these genres. The characters are somewhat
flat, but they serve their purpose well as vehicles for comedy. As a
murder mystery, KILLING TIME: A GAME SHOW MUSICAL stays well within
the genre while making fun of it. Still, even if the plot won’t keep
you on the edge of your seat, the music and choreography well.
This is a well-executed show. I was thoroughly impressed with the
musical theatre talents on display. Every member of the cast and band
truly brought it to the stage. There was a good mix too of ensemble
pieces and solo and duet pieces. The character of Todd (Jawon Mapp)
really made the show, and moved the show away from meta-theatrical
cliché into something truly enjoyable — unapologetic fun.
This show, from what I can gather from my Googling, was created by
recent theatre grads, and will have a particular resonance for those
of a similar background. I think it’s enjoyable for almost anyone,
particularly fans of musical theatre.
Carly Anna Billings is a remarkable performer. The tale she tells in
her solo show MEATLESS LOVE is an incredibly personal one; at its
heart it is about the nature of identity. How we know who we are is
from the memories that we have experienced, and that were passed down
to us by our parents and our grandparents. Carly grew up rooted in her
Italian background, she says "until I was five, I thought everyone was
Italian!" She shares stories about cooking elaborate meals with her
No-No, about making wonderful meals and learning the recipes by hand;
it is deeply heartfelt and very important to her.
Carly's father discovers the fact that his mother, who died when he
was a child, was an indigenous woman from the Mississaugas of the
Credit, she died when he was only 8 years old, and lost her status
under the Indian Act when she married a white man and moved off of the
reserve. What follows then are some uncomfortable truths; stories of
the forced assimilation, and the cultural genocide of First Nations
Carly has a remarkably frenetic energy, and she is completely engaging
and never loses a beat. One of the parts that really got to me was
when she showed us all her status card; a previously hidden part of
her identity that she keeps because it is proof, something that she
now refuses to hide.
The format of the production is a home cooking show, although
admittedly, an amateur one, shot in the kitchen of her parents home.
There's lots of humour about still living at home with her parents in
her late twenties. There's lots of humour about her love for Meatloaf,
not just the food, but the rock star!
I was incredibly moved by MEATLESS LOAF; it offers something that is
personal, funny and actually has something very important to say. We
are more than halfway through the Fringe now but if you're looking for
an hour to fill, I would have no hesitation in telling you to catch
Spindle Collective/Riot King
The Zoetic Theatre
Natalia Bushnik returns to the Fringe after her critical hit BATHTUB
GIRLS in 2017. This time she is accompanied by a new creative partner
Kathleen Welch, who wrote the music for SAMCA. They are joined on
stage by an ensemble of other women: Madeline Kennedy, Andra Zlatar,
Jenna Green, Camila Farah and Sydney Nicholson. This play won the
2022 Hamilton Fringe New Play contest.
SAMCA is set in the woods, in what appears to be the late eighteenth
century. Two sisters, played by Buchnik and Welch, are sexually
assaulted by a super-natural being, SAMCA. One of the sisters is
impregnated by SAMCA.
The play has an ensemble of many, although the main action focuses on
the two sisters. Interspersed with the main action is videography and
Welch’s music. The playing of the saw is particularly intriguing, and
the videography is well done. It perfectly complements the action
near the end of the show.
For people expecting a repeat of Bushnik's prior work BATHTUB GIRLS,
this is not it. This piece is much longer and more diversified in its
approach. Still, it asks some important questions about womanhood and
pregnancy, which have a certain poignancy for today, even though the
play is set many years in the past.
THE BEAUTY WE CARRY
Unit 5 Theatre Collective
THE BEAUTY WE CARRY is a complicated and experimental play. It
demands a lot of the audience. However, if you’re willing to put the
work into concentrating on show, it can be truly rewarding.
The show is based on a number of verbatim interviews. Karie Richards
takes on all these roles, and she does a very good job of creating
different voices and characterizations for each monologue. The
stories are fairly heavy, with many of them centering around death and
loss. There’s not a lot of context given to the stories. They simply
flow one into the other. Still, by the end of the show, there feels
like a cathartic release of all the pain that the interviewees have
faced in their lives.
This work is experimental, because there’s little character
development. Instead, the show really shines in Richards ability to
connect and bring to life the verbatim materials. At times, she
really seems to be able to shift between personas instantly.
Ultimately, THE BEAUTY WE CARRY is brave work, in that the team of
Richards, Glenn Davidson, as co-director (along with Richards) and
production designer, and Daniel Cushing as co-producer, have stayed
true to the words of their subjects. They’ve let the stories speak
for themselves. For that, they should be commended.
THE 4 GRANDMASTERS OF STREET DANCE
Family Fringe Bridgeworks Stage
The 4 Grandmasters of Street Dance is so much fun. It is a perfect
gem of a show. Its young cast are supremely talented and funny and
charming and the Grandmasters of Street Dance fully live up to their
name. This show had the entire audience grooving in their seats.
It is impossible not to walk out with a smile on your face and a
bounce in your step. Perfect for the Family Fringe. Perfect for
everyone really. Do yourself a favour and go see The 4 Grandmasters
of Street Dance while you have the chance.
THE KEY HOUSE PROJECT
Porch Light Theatre
Theatre Aquarius: Backstage
This is the first (of hopefully many) shows that have a sold out runs
at the Fringe this year. If there was ever a piece to demonstrate why
live theatre can be more rewarding than film or television, THE KEY
HOUSE PROJECT is it. Additionally, this is an opportunity to see four
fine young performers (Oyinpreye Godwin, Angelica Reid, Nicholas
Simao, Darnie Tran) give prescient performances of what I’m sure are
very good things to come.
Under the expert hands of Porch Light Theatre (Karen Ancheta and Aaron
Jan), the audience, equipped with personal headsets, is led through
various spaces inside Theatre Aquarius. This, for a theatre lover, is
a particular treat, being able to see the guts of the theatre. The
coat room, that bath room, the storage room, the filing cabinets—all
of these places and settings are given new life. Throughout each
location, there are thoughtful and robust props and design that
complement the story. Radios and lanterns were also used in a clever
manner to help tie the pieces together. A common theme in the pieces
was the search for identity, especially what it means to come from two
different cultures. I found the stories to be thoughtful, well
developed and completely sincere. Simao’s performance was a
particular standout but all were of very high quality, and all the
performers— Godwin, Reid, Simao, and Tran—I will look for in the
future. There were some issues with sound, but I found that taking
off my headphones and just listening the performers alleviated the
problem, and in many respects ameliorated the immediacy of the
This really is must-see fringe theatre. This is what this festival is
all about. This is why we perform fringe and attend fringe—so we can
see precious moments like this brought to life in a time and place
that may never find another home. See this show (if you can) and
remember these names.
Players Guild of Hamilton Studio
When I saw the description of this play and the sixty-second pitch at
the Fringe Opening Night party, I was expecting a morality play, about
the downfall of a member of the arrogant elite. That’s not exactly
what I got. Yes, the play is about a character who purposely
resembles Elon Musk, who right now, is the richest man in the world.
But there’s a little more to this play, and a strong environmental
undertone that will resonate with many.
The play opens by introducing us to Leon Zorbes (William Alexander
Doyle) and his wife Arabella (Justine Grimes) just as Zorbes becomes
the richest man in the world. We are then introduced to their
children, the Zorbes’s love of Francis Bacon painting and William
Blake poetry and their pet project of colonization of the moon. The
Moon, for the Zorbes, is the future of the world.
Doyle and Grimes do a good job of moving the show forward, even though
there are questions about the connection between the Zorbes’ love of
Bacon and Blake, on the one hand, and their desire to set up a remote
moon colony on the other hand. Grimes, in particular, is arresting in
The show has a lot to say, although it does need to be teased out by
the audience through the many themes and tones of the play. It did
make me question my own role as a caregiver of this planet, and I hope
that I will do a better job than the Zorbes.
TOO BIG FOR HER BRITCHES
Players Guild of Hamilton Studio
Many shows at the Fringe are important. They tell stories that say to
the audience, I’ve been there, I’ve done, and it was horrible, but I
am a better person now, and things are OK. TOO BIG FOR HER BRITCHES
is one of those shows. For anyone, but particularly women and young
girls, who struggle with weight or body image issues, this is
important to see. And at times, it’s funny.
Liza Pezik is the only actor throughout this show, but she plays 25
different characters. Some of the characters are personifications of
her own emotions, like Shame, and others are people from Pezik’s life.
By portraying all these characters, the audience feels the anguish of
being judged by others, and even worse being judged by oneself.
There are some dark moments in TOO BIG FOR HER BRITCHES, but they are
balanced by a few well-placed laughs and many original songs.
The audience gave this show a standing ovation, and, in my opinion, it
was well deserved.
Let's Get Wet Productions, Toronto.
The Zoetic Theatre
WET seems to be the work of a group of York University alumni, mostly
coming from the creative mind of director playwright Celeste LaCroix.
It shows us two bathtubs, and two shower stalls, and the cast of four,
"a foursome", one even might call them, that basically show us a side
of intimacy, as they take their clothes off, put their phones on the
counter, and get wet!
I particularly enjoyed the performance of Carina Salajan, who
basically repeated the advertising tropes pushed on young women about
the essential need for products when bathing. Some of them came off as
a kind of twisted form of advertising parody. I also really enjoyed
the performance of the only male in the production, Robert Follows, a
bearded gentleman who brought a lot of essential humour to the
production, even if that also included the inevitable masturbation
I must make note of the exceptional sound design for this production,
which basically played around with the percussive sounds made by the
gurgling of the drain and the dripping of water, out of the shower
head. The show was not without its technical flaws, but hopefully
those will resolve themselves as they progress deeper into the run.
I quite got a lot out of WET, and I encourage people to check it out
and see for themselves what happens behind the closed bathroom doors,
particularly for young people who are forced to share a home in order
to survive which inevitably means sharing a bathroom with a large
number of people. The constant knocking by roommates, on the bathroom
door and the repetition of "two minutes please!" was a great running
THE 2022 HAMILTON FRINGE FESTIVAL
July 20 - 31, 2022, at twelve venues in the city
Reach the Box Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 289-698-2234.
Tickets will be available for walk-up sales at all in-person venues 60
minutes before the scheduled start time.
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