Wild abandon


We can’t get enough of Morro and Jasp, the clown duo who’ve been selling out their shows at Fringe festivals for the past several years.

The infectious chemistry between Heather Marie Annis (Morro) and Amy Lee (Jasp) is palpable, and their relationship with the audience is as endearing as it is entertaining.

The red-nose duo’s latest, Morro And Jasp GONE WILD, returns to Toronto for a run during March break.

But don’t bring kids under 14. The production follows the pair as they dive into a beach vacation with all the energy and hormones of college kids looking to party. Expect sexual content and strong language.

Well, at least Jasp wants the thrill of romance. The more sober Morro hopes to save the world by being part of a Save the Fish volleyball tournament. A wrong turn on the way dashes both of their hopes but gives viewers lots of laughs.

The show, presented by U.N.I.T. Productions and directed by Byron Laviolette, was one of the highlights of our Fringe-going this past summer after playing here, it travelled to the Winnipeg Fringe. The company then took their previous show, Morro And Jasp Do Puberty – nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award – to the New York Clown Theatre Festival.

Performances this time around are in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, which will mean lots of intimacy between performers and audience. Be warned, though, that this beach trip means that water will be involved, with a splash zone in the first few rows.

See listings.

Heading in the right direction

If you are, however, looking for a show for youngsters during March break, you can’t do better than Head À Tête, presented by Theatre Direct in their home at the Wychwood Barns.

Written a quarter-century ago by theatre for young audiences pioneers Robert Morgan and David S. Craig, the show focuses on an Englishman and a Frenchman who move from conflict to friendship. Unable to communicate, they learn to “converse” with each other by playing together.

The current production features Sharmila Dey and Michelle Polak in the roles originated by the playwrights. Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones and designed by Lindsay Anne Black, the physical show uses humour and heart to give the original material an environmental twist.

And speaking of play, the Wychwood Barns is also the site for ToyBox, the wonderful interactive multimedia environment created by designers Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson. We had lots of fun with an earlier version of the kid-and-adult-friendly room of inventive devices and toys at SummerWorks 2010 (when it was called Playground) and hoped that Kates and Chaisson would be able to carry the idea further.

You can see the show and then have fun with your kids in ToyBox admission is free to the latter with a ticket to Head À Tête. Family performances run twice a day from March 14 to 19.

See listings.

More Whores

The Whores, another Toronto Fringe production, returns for a short run as part of V-Day Toronto.

Written by Charles Crosby and produced as well as directed by Tanisha Taitt, the production tracks the lives and perspectives of five women who work as prostitutes. Based on interviews with Halifax sex workers, Crosby’s script looks at both the freedom and danger faced by the women.

See listings.

Pedalling the past

If you think the argument for bike lanes is the first political discussion about the two-wheel, pedalling mode of transportation, Spin will be an eye-opener.

Evalyn Parry’s one-woman, one-bike show uses story, music and technology to link the tales of bicycles, women and liberation. Inspired by the history of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to bike around the world (in 1894), Parry’s show offers a “tribute to the bicycle as muse, musical instrument and agent of social change.”

Wait a minute – musical instrument?

Yup, Parry’s joined onstage by a vintage bicycle that’s suspended in a mechanic’s stand, with microphones on its frame, seat and fenders. It’s “played” by percussionist Brad Hart and manipulated by sound artist and musician Anna Friz to create a soundscape for Parry’s dialogue and songs.

Ruth Madoc-Jones directs, with production design by Beth Kates.

We’ve seen a couple of workshop versions of the show, one in the staircase of Factory Theatre during Lab Cab a few years ago. It’s a really intriguing piece, made more so by Parry’s engaging performance.

See listings.




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