Sunday, July 7, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Big Metal Box (Fringe)

Boxed in by the Box
by Jason Booker

A site-specific play set in a storage locker. Sounds like a great idea: creative space to bring an audience into, strong aesthetic choices with limited options, lots of potential stories to tell.

Well, Big Metal Box attempts to do just that. Through a series of vignettes, director Kristofer Van Soelen and his cast of five use the concept of the storage locker more than the space itself and to moderate success. While the space was used nicely, it could have been transformed into a more intimate space than the proscenium set-up permitted.  Also, a credited fight director would have helped significantly with the climactic scene and a proper program would have helped this reviewer identify the cast and crew more clearly.  

Unfortunately some of the short plays have difficulty distinguishing who the audience is and what role they should play in the proceedings including being an investigative reporter or companions trapped inside the locker for unknown reasons. Normally that might not be an issue but in a tiny space where the lighting never changes, it seems relevant. 

Some of the vignettes are stronger than others thematically as well, particularly the wordless third segment in which a Muslim woman slips into the locker to passionately paint. Hopefully this character and her ritualistic entry and exit of the space can be further explored in the future.

Big Metal Box is at the Toronto Fringe

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