REESOR by Erin Brandenburg and Lauren Taylor, directed by Taylor. Presented by Sunshine Players at the Factory Studio. July 12 at 11:15 pm, July 13 at 3:45 pm, July 15 at 2:45 pm. Rating: NNNN
Inspired by stories from real-life Reesor, Ontario, this episodic hybrid of a show immerses us in the world of a group of Mennonites who attempt to settle in the brutal northern Ontario bush in the second quarter of the 1900s.
There's lots of imagination on display in director Lauren Taylor's strong production, especially from a three-piece band who pluck all manner of newfangled instruments. The script, symbolically perhaps, is a patchwork-quilt of scenes, many of them (such as an encounter with a bear) working beautifully in the well-used set. Co-writer Erin Brandenburg shines as an early pioneer, but a stronger emotional arc would have drawn us in further. Still, a Fringe discovery, creatively conceived and executed.