Monday, July 10, 2017

Toronto Fringe 2017 Day #4

Amo Gulinello in Fastcar: Man of Action. Photo by: Valerie Michele Graper

I saw 2 evening shows after getting some sleep. And more sleep afterwards, which is why this is late. (Again, the link in the title takes you to the show page so you can buy tickets.)


Fastcar: Man of Action

This was another show I didn't know much about going in. I already had it in my schedule when I ran into the artist, who was hanging out with someone I know from my vocal studio. They had worked together in Singapore. Small world.

It also turns out that this wasn't the first time I had seen him perform. I checked out his online bio and he was with De La Guarda. (I've spent the last couple of hours trying to retrieve the post I know I wrote about seeing that show in October 2001 and how I was moved by the scene about the tower falling. It's sadly trapped in WP backup hell.)  The man has solid physical theatre chops.

And that's what you get with this show - tons of physical comedy in a mime style. And it's done very well. Like any good clown, he takes the mundane and raises the stakes ever higher, pushing it in the realm of the absurd. I'm finding it really difficult to describe what happens in the show, which may very well be the point. The artist in his synopsis talks about three sections - the phone call, the date, the mission - but that really doesn't do justice to what you see. This show is really accessible, a product of his years of being a lead clown for Cirque du Soleil. He told me the final bit is directly lifted from his work there. 

This show is a lot of fun but be prepared, members of the audience will be involved in the antics. Having said that, he got my friend Heather onstage and she never does audience participation. He's that good. So if you want a shorter show (it runs 45 minutes) where you'll be doing a ton of laughing performed by a master of physical comedy, this is the show you'll want to see. He's an out-of-towner who doesn't have a large network of contacts here and needs all the support he can get.


Odd One Out

This show is very different from everything else I've seen. It's the one pure drama on my list. 

It concerns two women who fall in love while in university in the 50s. Setting it in the 50's gave it a power and resonance that separated it out from most stories I've seen about lesbian romance. While the romance is the center of the plot, the play is really about shattered dreams and the long arm of guilt. The play shifts two time frames - the time when the women and the "steady" of one of them were together, and 8 years later when two of them come together to discover the story of what happened to the third, who had disappeared.

The acting is stellar and the script is lush (helps having a character who loves writing that kind of prose). The relationships are very well drawn and we have a strong sense of who each character is. It's a simple set that uses 3 flats on wheels to define spaces and I found that the moving of the panels was distracting instead of enlightening. But that's the only quibble I have with this production. It moves at a good pace and is fully engrossing.

I do have to give a shout out to Siobhan Richardson's intimacy direction. She learned the craft from the Intimacy on Stage workshop that I wrote about last year  (she was the one who made it happen) and you can see the difference on the stage. I felt the attraction between the two female characters from the moment they met in a way I can't remember experiencing ever before in a show. There was such a comfort level between that actors that has to have been Siobhan's work.

The description sells it as a mystery but I'd consider that a little misleading because it's never solved. Instead, we get a powerful story that is told well by engaging actors. If that's your thing, you need to see this show.

3 comments:

mary-anne labelle said...

Saw the show opening night and was impressed with the calibre of script and performances. The play was seamless. A moment : the dancing duologue between Mat and Jerry with the ring. Unlike the reviewer, I found the placement of the spare set pieces helpful in establishing time frame and not at all distracting. A must-see.

Amo Gulinello said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amo Gulinello said...

RE: FASTCAR: man of action, thank you for the kind words regarding my show. I would like to clear up a misunderstanding. The show is composed of ALL original material. It is true that I have worked many years as a clown for Cirque du Soleil, however, outside of sharing a certain skill set, the material in the show does not come from any Cirque du Soleil show. I'd be great if you could edit the review so that there is no further misunderstandings. Thanks a bunch. -Amo Gulinello.

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