What an absolute joy to take part in the opening day of the Toronto Fringe Festival’s 2022 season! I was able to catch two shows this evening and they were both delightful!

Juliet: A Revenge Comedy

            All the way from Vancouver, BC is Juliet: A Revenge Comedy. This laugh-out-loud comedy features Shakespeare’s Juliet and what might happen if she didn’t kill herself at the end of her tragedy. First, I have to say what a brilliant cast this is. Lili Beaudoin plays the titular character and does a fantastic job of playing the petulant teenager who we watch flourish into a brave young woman. Bruce Horak plays the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. He had us cracking up from the first few lines of the show! Carly Pokoradi plays literally everyone else in the play. From the Nurse or Romeo to Cleopatra and Lady Macbeth, she runs the Shakespearean gamut of characters. Watching her transform from one character to the next absolutely seamlessly was a delight; the unique physicality of each character signified so distinctly who she was embodying, even in moments where there was no dialogue it was clear who she was portraying.  

            Juliet: A Revenge Comedy is a Shakespeare lover’s dream; I was laughing from start to finish. The Shakespearean quotes fit in so perfectly and I love the idea that these characters get to live their lives every time we perform their story. And if anyone would like to have a conversation with me regarding Ophelia’s madness, message me on social media. You can find tickets as well as more info about Juliet: A Revenge Comedy at JULIET: A Revenge Comedy | Toronto Fringe Festival (fringetoronto.com)

The Garden of Alla

Steven Elliott Jackson has another hit on his hands with The Garden of Alla. Based on the true story of the production of the film of Oscar Wilde’s “Salomé” in the early 1920’s, The Garden of Alla is a witty yet heartbreaking story. The cast of this show is stellar; all three performances were captivating and moving. Shawn Lall’s Charles was fantastic, and I fully felt the emotion in his character arc throughout the piece. Neta J. Rose plays Natacha, the fabulous costume designer. Rose had that easy grace that seems to come from that old Hollywood era and their quips were delivered expertly. Rebecca Perry plays the titular Alla Nazimova, and she plays her as such a delicious diva! She embodied the glamour and decadence of the age, and yet when her heart gets broken you feel every little bit of yours shatter as well.

The Garden of Alla is powerful tale of the queer community in Hollywood in the 1920’s and how censorship can destroy not only individual lives but entire communities like the one that lived at the Garden of Alla Hotel. This is a must-see, gripping, heartfelt story with all the wit of Oscar Wilde himself. For more information and tickets to The Garden of Alla, visit: The Garden Of Alla | Toronto Fringe Festival (fringetoronto.com)

First day down and several more to go! While I’m out of town this weekend, I’ll be back with more reviews of what’s on at Fringe on Monday. In the meantime, grab your tickets and make sure to Tip the Fringe by adding a small donation to your purchase. You get an awesome button which you can claim at any merch booth (and grab some merch while you’re there!) but you’re also supporting the Fringe Festival and their efforts here in Toronto.

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