This is part of an ongoing series of regional Shakespeare coverage. It’s Lauren here with the latest in Shakespeare news from Toronto. This week, I’d like to introduce you to the three companies with Shakespeare productions at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival.
The first Toronto Fringe Festival was held in 1989, and it has since grown into a fantastic opportunity for theatre companies and new shows to get their start in the business. Toronto Fringe is also a great showcase for dance, visual art, buskers, on-site performances and more! So, of course, some really savvy companies have pitched some Shakespeare, and their productions were chosen at the Fringe Lottery Party.
The Shakespeare lineup for Toronto boasts the following productions: Hamlet … a puppet epic! by Shakey-Shake and Friends, The Merry Wives of Windsor by Shakespeare BASH’D, and Twelfe Night, Or What You Will by Ale House Theatre Co.
Let me start then by introducing you to Shakey-Shake and Friends!
This theatre company performs great stories for kids, using puppets in the style of The Muppets and Wishbone. Mooney on Theatre reviewed their earlier production of The Tempest : “If you have kids or are a kid at heart, or if you like Shakespeare, this is a must-see. I only wish I could have seen something like this as a young person.”
“Plots! Schemes! Puppets! There’s something awesome in the state of Denmark! FringeKids favourite Shakey-Shake and Friends return with their most ambitious play yet: Hamlet! Comic hijinks abound as Shakes and the gang tell the tale of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy in the lighthearted tradition of the Muppets.”
Directed by Sarah Bruckschwaiger, with the puppetry talents of Merritt Crews, Jeff Dingle, Erin Eldershaw, Luke Marty, Megan Miles, Shira Taylor, and Tom McGee, this is not a production to miss! Hamlet … a puppet epic! will be performed at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Toronto.
For all those of you who want to get their kids into The Bard, definitely check out Shakey-Shake and Friends this summer at Toronto FringeKids. Showtimes are as follows: July 01, 4:30pm / July 05, 10:00am / July 07, 10:00am / July 08, 3:15pm / July 09, 10:00am / July 10, 10:00am / July 12, 11:00am. This show has a running time of 55 minutes. Tickets can be purchased online .
Then we come to Shakespeare BASH’D and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
“Shakespeare BASH’d is an initiative started in 2010 by James Wallis and a group of young actors who decided to share their love of Shakespeare and stake a claim in the Toronto theatre community by exploring the works of Shakespeare in a collective environment to allow different perspectives and ideas from the entire company to be focused together. The final performance product would be derived from their own experiences, thoughts, and understanding of the works of Shakespeare and the world they were living in now.”
Shakespeare BASH’D is no stranger to Toronto Fringe, having previously won the “Best of Fringe” award! Directed by James Wallis and Catharine Rainville, with performances by Jade Douris, Lynne Griffin, Andrew Knowlton, David Mackett, Suzette McCanny, Julia Nish-Lapidus, Drew O’Hara, Andrew Joseph Richardson, David Ross and Sean Sullivan, this production is certainly going to be something to see! So come “crush a cup” with this site-specific performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Victory Cafe.
The running time for this show is 90 minutes. Showtimes are as follows: July 02, 7:00pm / July 03, 7:00pm / July 04, 9:00pm / July 05, 5:00pm / July 07, 7:00pm / July 08, 7:00pm / July 09, 7:00pm / July 10, 7:00pm / July 11, 7:00pm / July 12, 5:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online.
Last, but not least, we have a remount of Ale House Theatre Company‘s Twelfe Night, Or What You Will.
Ale House Theatre Co. is back at Toronto Fringe, remounting a production that was originally produced in 2013 at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. The remount is now a 90 minute production, keeping with the time restraints of Toronto Fringe performances, but it retains much of its original cast, with a few new additions for the 2015 season!
“Twelfe Night is the sort of play that shatters ridiculous but endured assumptions of Shakespeare and his characters,” says director Joshua Stodart. Over the course of four Shakespeare productions, Ale House has used Original Practices as a launch pad for some of the most surprisingly fresh productions in Toronto Theatre. “Behind 400 years of plaque, we find a world where people were as vibrant, complex, and familiar as people today and where ale was safer to drink than water.” Ale House believes Original Practices to be one of many invigorating ways to bring life back to Shakespeare’s characters.”
So don’t miss out on this remount, directed by Joshua Stodart, with performances by Hilary McCormack, Tayves Fiddis, Dan Henkel, Mitchell Janiak, Peyton LeBarr, Tim MacLean, Andrea Massoud, Matt Shaw, Kyle Shields, Tal Shulman, Jake Vanderham and Chris Whidden. As previously mentioned the running time for this show is 90 minutes. Performances will take place at St. Vladimir Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online. Showtimes are as follows: July 01, 10:30pm / July 03, 1:15pm / July 05, 3:30pm / July 06, 8:15pm / July 07, 4:30pm / July 9, 7:00pm / July 12, 4:30pm.
As you can tell, there will be lots of Shakespeare to see at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival – so get out there, get your Fringe passes, and get Shakey!!!