Hamish Boyd

Fringe 2008 - Day 6

Get out of that office and into a theatre; the Toronto Fringe Festival is upon us.

Continue reading for reviews of Bluebeard, The Lesson, My Autopsy, and Selling Love

(reviewed by Tatiana Kachira)

"Weird" is the word I heard murmured by the sell-out crowd on my way out of the theatre after the play has ended. I agree - and I mean it in a good way.

Bluebeard is tale of four women raised in an abandoned church, never even allowed to peak at the menacing Outside. But then a mysterious stranger breaks into their isolated world, prompting them to leave the stuffy confines of their prison and explore a beautiful world full of life, happiness and love.

The acting is supreme, the plot is tight and offers surprising twists, and the whole production has a flair of professionalism that sets it apart from the bulk of Fringe plays. If a little "weird" doesn't put you off, check it out.

Blubeard is playing at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace July 8, 10, 11, 13. For more info, check out the Fringe Toronto website.

The Lesson
(reviewed by Tatiana Kachira)

Theatre of Absurd at its finest, The Lesson is a classic by Eugene Ionesco, exploring the subjects of knowledge, education, communication and gender roles. A Toronto native Alex Fallis shines as a mad professor in this dark "comic drama"; in fact, the whole cast does a marvelous job.

Entertaining, amusing, thought-provoking, terrifying at times, this production is a delight to watch. Anyone who's ever tried to learn or teach anything will probably find moments to relate to. Recommended.

The Lesson is playing at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space July 9, 10, 11, 12. For more info, check out the Fringe Toronto website.

My Autopsy
(reviewed by Roger Cullman)

My Autopsy is an ambitious one-man show written and performed by Calgary actor Hamish Boyd. He chronicles his spiritual life story, an often amusing coming of age journey from choirboy to hippie drug user to Hindu bible devotee.

The production's title alludes to his death, but the play takes too long to get to the macabre, instead relying on distractions to the story such as musical interludes that slow down the pace of the show too much.

Still, it's got a lot going for it, including stomach-churning stories of working in some of the least desirable hospital jobs to mind-bending acid trips while hitchhiking to Kitsilano, B.C. One of the best lines comes when he eloquently compares Dracula to Jesus: "They're both dead men flying and, if you drink the blood of either one, you'll live forever."

My Autopsy is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Main Space July 8, 9, 10, 13. For more info see the Toronto Fringe website.

Selling Love
(reviewed by Megan Mooney)

To me, this was an average show. It wasn't *bad*, but also not memorable. There are some funny bits, some serious bits and the live jazz is a nice touch. I would have enjoyed the jazz as pre-show music as the audience arrived too, it would have nicely set the mood.

My major complaint with the piece is the interludes in scene changes. Although interesting to watch, they felt out of place. I didn't understand their relevance to the play. They felt like time fillers, and personally I'd rather 40 minutes of material specific to the show I'm watching, than 60 minutes that include interesting bits that have nothing to do with the piece.

This is one of those shows I wouldn't go out of my way to see, but if I happened to already be close by it's a reasonably pleasant way to spend an hour.

Selling Love is playing at the Factory Studio Theatre July 8, 10, 12. For more info see the Toronto Fringe website.

Main photo courtesy of My Autopsy

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