The Next Stage Festival, Toronto

For five years now, the magic of the Fringe Festival has been appearing in the the (usually) cold (but strangely April-like this year) winter.

The Next Stage Festival takes over Toronto’s Factory Theatre with a line-up of fantastic shows.  I got to catch a couple on Saturday that both made me laugh and remember how awesome the theatre kids in Toronto are.  These talented women were inspiring as they made me guffaw through tears (of laughter and also the sad kind).

The first was Modern Love, presented by Theatre Caravel, written and performed by the luminous and quick-witted Jessica Moss.  She and her character are smart, funny and absolutely heartbreaking.

Moss plays Trish, a girl who, like many of us in this wired-up, social-media-saturated, disconnected generation, is stuck in front of her screen with 660 Facebook friends but ultimately alone and trying to connect for real.

If you want to see a clever, well-acted, tightly-directed (by Eric Double) solo show that flies by and where you miss jokes because you’re laughing too hard, check it out.  It plays until the 15th of January.

In the evening, I was one of the lucky ones who’d booked ahead and nabbed a ticket for Go Bake Yourself by Fringe darlings (and just plain darlings) Morro and Jasp.

These clown sisters have very different ideas of how a cooking show should go and it makes for a very entertaining, hilarious, and endearing half hour.

Before you can shout “salmonella!,” the show’s over and your tummy’s hurting,  and not because you’re starving because the tray of hors-d’oeuvres of cracker avec fromage never got to you (luckily, they kindly provide the audience with the recipe to try at home). Your stomach is aching because you’ve laughed so hard.

It also plays until January 15th, and there may be a couple of seats left.  Who knows?  The Next Stage Festival people do- you should call them!


And for those of you who are scared of clowns, or hate them (because you are scared of them, most likely), please do yourself a favour and check out Morro and Jasp: Behind the Nose.  You might learn something: