Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: (Toronto) An Evening in July (Fringe)

Half Improv, Half Scripted, Totally Amazing
by Keely Kwok

Go and see this show. Stat. 

Comedic duo The Templeton Philharmonic, comprised of Briana Templeton and Gwynne Phillips, are the complete package. Brilliant writers, commanding actors, seasoned comedians, and downright damn funny dancers, these ladies are a tour-de-force of talent. 

An Evening in July is a half improv/half scripted Grey Gardens/1972’s Surrealist Ball inspired dark comedy. Two high society sisters, May and June, decide to host the most fabulous fete anyone’s ever seen and we (the audience) are the guests. With an exceptional blend of poignant comedy and dark twists, The Templeton Philharmonic ground eccentricity in reality and make you laugh so hard you barely notice how well they do it.

As you enter the performance space at Saint George The Martyr Anglican Church, you’re told you can stroll about the garden or wander inside the living room for some refreshments. That’s right, this show comes with a fully stocked bar. Inside there are trinkets, old photographs, and books with radiant titles like “Success is Within You” on display. All the while a gentle tune plays in the background. 

But the real fun begins when you’re asked to stand outside, semicircle-like, in the garden as June (Gwynne Phillips) struts onto the scene. She takes a seat and nibbles away at an open can of cat food on the table. May (Briana Templeton) practically floats in with glazed eyes and a vacant stare. Both Templeton and Phillips are incredibly strong performers. They play off one another, are effortlessly funny, and completely command everyone’s attention. Throughout the evening, the show moves back and forth between inside and out, but you’re never lost or left waiting. Templeton and Phillips (along with their trusty staff of underling ushers) guide you through the transitions seamlessly. It’s fast paced flawlessness. There’s even a part where you get to play with a giant parachute in the garden. And as any kid from the 90s knows… this is THE BEST THING EVER. It’s amazing to watch these girls break down the fourth wall only to put it back up a moment later. They’re like Brechtian magicians! 

Anyways, my whole point is that this is the show to see. My only complaint is that the candies in the living room were disgusting. Other than that, I just didn’t want the party to end.

July 2 - 13

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