SHOCK reviews gory apocalyptic meltdown WASTELAND at Toronto Fringe.
The Toronto Fringe Festival (the 2016 edition is currently running in the city until Saturday) is a hit or miss affair; an upside down side-step into a rabbit hole that starts at one show and ends in ten. The jury is a lottery system and every theater company is only allowed one entry from across Canada and overseas. Companies can have over a decade of experience; students just out of school, or an entrepreneur giving the stage a go for the first time. Whoever it is, the job of creating and selling a show falls into the hands of the artists and the bonus is that100% of all box office profits go to the artists.
Set in a post-apocalyptic disaster, a janitor named Ernest comes across a spunky dog in a compound run by a group of militant maniacs. Yearning to escape from the madmen who crave blood, guts, and gore, only a radio station named Graceland offers any hope or salvation from the autocratic compound. Stealing a set of motorcycle keys the two take off across the nuclear Armageddon, pursued by Marshall and his clan. The plot unfolds over an hour that is packed with mutants, car chases, a “Murder Derby” and 3D.
Wait, are you sure this is theater?
Yes it is.
In fact, it’s MAD MAX FURY ROAD on stage with a $100 budget and a healthy injection of an ’80s camp trash B-movie sensibility. Staring a brilliant ensemble (that includes Conor Bradbury, Julian Frid, Kaitlin Morrow, Josef Addleman and Sean Murray), armed with excellent pacing and a heart racing plot, WASTELAND combines the most basic tools of the theater trade to create an arsenal of adventure.
You have two more days to catch this flick…. I mean, catch this “play”.
However, I suggest you make a day of it. Especially as this is the last year the Fringe Tent, the nexus of the festival and fully licensed, will be located behind Honest Ed’s. To truly get the Fringe experience walk down the alley, pick four posters that speak to your sensibility, buy a five ticket pass and immerse yourself in the true fringe of theater.