Reviews of the Fringe

by Lynn on July 6, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Short Bits on the Toronto Fringe Festival, Toronto, Ont. Until July 15, 2023.


Written and directed by Gillian R. Edwards

Set by Daniel Bowden

Lighting by Duaa Zahra

Sound effects/video by Kevin Quain

Cast: Bonnie Anderson

Daniel Christian Jones

Jacob Klick

Jesse McQueen

We hear five gun shots at the beginning of the production of this intriguing play. It’s 1958, the Midwest of the United States. June (Jesse McQueen) shot her lover Richard (Jacob Klick), stood trial and was found guilty of murder and sent to prison. She develops a friendship with a woman prison guard name Parker (Bonnie Anderson). They talk about children—June has a son and Parker doesn’t have children. Parker can’t believe that June would not reveal that her lover beat her and her son. She had her reasons—who would believe her?

Gillian R. Edwards has written an intriguing play about what women put up with in abusive relationships; why they pick the partners they do and not more suitable ones—June was also loved  by Geoff (Daniel Christian Jones), and what they will do to protect their children.

But Gillian R. Edwards introduces a topic at the end—the inhumanity of the death penalty and the process—that comes from no where and is not supported. That could make an interesting play on its own.

The production is efficient but the scenes between Jesse McQueen as June and Bonnie Anderson as Parker are spoken so quietly, not projected, that one can’t hear much of what they are saying. The words are important; please speak up! Interestingly, when Jesse McQueen had scenes with the men, audibility was no problem.

JUNE continues at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace July 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15. 60 minutes.

A programme is provided.


Written and directed by Taylor Marie Graham

Designed by Matthew Ivanoff, David DeGrow, and Terre Chartrand

Cast: Matthew Ivanoff

Rainbow Kester.

It’s midnight and two teenagers are breaking into an abandoned factory. He is Jacob (Matthew Ivanoff). She is called Corporate Finch (Rainbow Kester) by him (he misheard her real name Courtenay, when they first met years before. Now he mostly calls her Finch. She sometimes sleeps there. She does not get along with her father. While they appear to like each other, Finch has other reasons for daring Jacob to come with her to break into the factory. Something happened to them that tested their friendship and he failed. He has a ‘touch’ of narcolepsy so that anytime he might be needed to help her, he’s conveniently asleep.  And she’s going to set it right.

It’s interesting how Finch (Rainbow Kester) toys with Jacob (Matthew Ivanoff) in such a deceptively playful way. He seems completely in her thrall, if not afraid of her. While he is alone in the factory—Finch has gone to get something—Jacob calls a mutual friend named Liam and indicates that he is afraid of Finch.

Taylor Marie Graham has written a dramatic tale that slowly evolves and grips us on the way. We learn some important information about Liam and his relation to the two friends. That should be developed because of what we learn happened in the past to Finch. The playing of Rainbow Kester and Matthew Ivanoff is playful and then steadily spooky when the truth is revealed. The pace seemed laggy on the opening, but I have faith it will tighten as the run progresses.

CORPORATE FINCH continues at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace July 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16. 50 minutes.

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