Toronto Fringe 2007 - Thomas Baxter's ThoughtControl II; Escape from Grace; Manners for Men
Only three days left to go before the end of the Fringe, so if there are still shows you want to see, you better hurry up! And if you have trouble deciding which shows to to go (I know I do!), below are reviews of three great shows to make the decision process a little easier. Or perhaps harder - there is way too much good stuff at this Fringe; one is torn between so many choices! The actors should do a slightly duller job really... overwhelming the poor theatre-goers with your fantastic performances is just plain inconsiderate! :-)
Thomas Baxter's ThoughtControl II - George Ignatieff Theatre - 15 Devonshire Pl.
Soft-spoken and charming, Thomas Baxter claims he possesses no supernatural powers, but his mind-boggling show is nothing short of magic! He does not hypnotize the audience or pull rabbits out of hats. He merely (gulp) reads your mind and (GULP!) dictates you your thoughts. Progressing from "pretty neat" to jaw-dropping, his amazing psychological feats will leave you unsettled and wondering just to what degree others control your own mind. Get ready to be blown away and revise your assumptions of what is and isn't possible. Exciting, entertaining and educational, this unique show is a must-see.
Escape from Grace - Factory Theatre Mainspace - 125 Bathurst St.
Escape from Grace is a play about coping with grief and the importance of letting go. It deals with these grave subjects in a surprisingly light-hearted and yet very moving way. Whether you call it a tragic comedy or a comic drama, this show by Toronto's very own Clever Chickadee Productions will have you laughing and crying, occasionally even at the same time. It is amusing, touching, emotionally intense, completely believable, and never boring. The actors do an outstanding job breathing life into the sincere and well-paced script. Two thumbs up! Tomorrow (Saturday) is your last chance to catch this show at the Fringe, and I recommend that you not miss it!
Manners for Men - Glen Morris Theatre - 4 Glen Morris St.
Focussing on a relationship between a timid socially inept man and his despotic mother, Manners for Men is a one-man show in which the son, the mother, and an assortment of secondary characters are all performed by British comic Justin Sage-Passant. It is a delight to watch the instant transformation from one role into another! The show is not of the "laugh your head off at every punchline" variety (for one thing there are almost no "punchlines"), but more of the "smile the whole way" kind. There are some laugh-out-loud moments when giggling is impossible to suppress, but the audience silences itself fairly quickly in order not to miss big chunks of densely packed text. The show is slightly overloaded with bathroom humour and puzzling British references for my liking, but all in all still very enjoyable.
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