by Lynn on July 10, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

More from the Toronto Fringe…

The Man With the Golden Heart – A New Musical

At the Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St. W. Toronto, Ont.

Written and directed by Andrew Seok

Music director, Jonathan Corkal-Astorga

Choreographer, Sam Jamieson

Lighting by Gordon Peck

Cast: Eunnie An

Scott Beaudin

Tess Benger

Rhoslynne Bugay

Rachel Delduca

Bruce Dow

Tristan Hernandez

Sarah Horsman

George Krissa

Charlotte Moore

Timothy Ng


Ted Powers

Andrew Seok

Annie Wang

Musicians: Jonathan Corkal-Astorga

Andrew Ascenzo

Alex Toskov

Andrew Seok, the writer and director of this stirring musical, has a huge beating heart and is brimming with humanity. He was concerned about the meanness and darkness of our present world and decided to write a musical full of the goodness of people in hard times. The Man with the Golden Heart is the result.

The musical takes place over three stressful times in our history: 1883 the building of the Canadian-Pacific railway by East Asian’s who were brought to Canada as cheap labour to build the railway; 1917 during WW1, 1929 the stock market crash. If I have the dates wrong it’s because I could not properly read the dates on the prop papers that characters unfolded to show us the dates.

Three couples go through hard times when they are affected by one of these events. An Asian husband works on the Canadian-Pacific and volunteers for a dangerous job to earn money they need; a young husband is conscripted to fight in WW1; a young couple is horribly affected by the stock market crash and it almost ruins their marriage.

To help these couples through it, a stranger, the man with the golden heart gives a bit of his heart to help them through the hard times, unbeknownst to them.  Unfortunately, by so doing he diminishes his own life until the matter becomes very serious.

Writer/director Andrew Seok has created a stirring, lush score. The songs (I wish there was a song list) cover such subjects as falling in love, trust, loyalty, making hard decisions for loved ones, forgiveness and hope. I must confess that often songs sounded the same, or it could have been the frequent reprises or what seemed like reprises.

The cast is first rate. They are led by Bruce Dow, the man with the golden heart. He has a strong tenor voice and spills his guts in emotion as he is compelled to help people in trouble. Playing the man with the golden heart’s mother is Charlotte Moore. She too has a strong voice and a compelling ability to act the song with conviction. Tess Benger, the War Wife, goes from strength to strength. She has a crystalline voice and she digs deep into the heart of each song. There is grace in everything thing she does.

I hope The Man With The Golden Heart has another life with some judicious editing.

Plays at the Jeanne Lamon Hall, July 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (95 minutes long.)

Fertility Slippers

Written by Ece Aydin

Directed by Christopher Legacy

Sound by Eric Kinsella

Cast: Aida Keykhaii

Parnian Pourzahed

This is a terrific piece about the cultural/generational divide between a traditional Turkish mother and her modern thinking daughter. The mother wants her daughter to wear slippers in the house and not just her socks on her feet. The mother feels that the slippers will protect her daughter from colds and illness and will keep her safe and thus make her fertile and able to have children. The mother also feels that their Turkish traditions should be maintained—that the daughter should meet a nice Turkish man and marry him. The daughter wants to be independent and chose whoever she wants as her partner.

To show the divide, the daughter wears a “Green Day” sweatshirt (the rock group). The mother wears modern garb but also scarves that represent a Turkish connection. The mother peppers her English dialogue with snippets of Turkish endearments and other Turkish comments. One doesn’t need to know Turkish to get the gist of the conversation of the mother.

The acting is divine of Aida Keykhaii as the mother, and Parnian Pourzahed as the daughter. The affection of both mother and daughter is clear in these lovely performances. The mother is gently pushy and over protective and the daughter is subtly frustrated by the push and the protection. They tug and push with equal measure creating a lovely dynamic.

Playwright Ece Aydin has written a story that is specifically between a Turkish mother and her modern-thinking Turkish daughter, and by being specific Ece Aydin has written a universal story that is recognizable no matter what culture you are from.

Christopher Legacy has directed Fertility Slippers with care, whimsy and a lovely sense of buoyancy. And Aida Keykhaii does some pretty impressive Turkish dancing as well.

Pure joy.

Fertility Slippers continues at the Tank House at the Young Centre  July 12, 14, 15, 16.

Leave a Comment

Respectful comments are accepted on this site as long as they are accompanied by a verifiable name and a verifiable e-mail address. Posts that are slanderous, libelous or personally derogatory will not be approved.