Company: Random Samples Collective, Victoria, BC
Venue: 8 - The Rachel Browne Theatre
(Reviewed at the Toronto Fringe Festival)
Who knew that there was so much backstage drama and danger involved with performing children’s theatre?
Jeff Leard spent the past year in a travelling children's storytelling troupe and has lived to tell the tale. But just barely.
The life and death yarns that Leard, as writer and actor, spins about his time playing Rumpelstiltskin will keep you on the edge of your seat. Who knew that there was so much backstage drama and danger involved with performing children's theatre?
Leard is an extremely talented performer. With the use of little more than a single chair, effective lighting cues, and an outrageous Rumpelstiltskin costume, he recreates his year-long journey across Canada in the name of making kids smile. The choreography of his onstage movements is so perfectly directed that you forget he is alone onstage. And he winds us along treacherous northern roads with such immediacy, I caught myself actually holding my breath as he described it.
Because of the play synopsis and poster, I was expecting a different sort of show -one with a much harder edge. Though intense, the tales Leard tells are far more touching than one is lead to believe by looking at his battered face on the poster.
It's a hit - just not that
kind of hit.