Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: (Toronto) If It's Not Too Much Trouble (Fringe)

by joel fishbane

There’s a good play hiding at the heart of If It’s Not Too Much Trouble, which is probably why it won the Toronto Fringe’s 25 Hour Playwriting Contest back in 2013. Playwright Trevor Poelman knows his way around a punchline and has a good ear for the sort of pop-cultured infused dialogue that made shows like Veronica Mars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer so distinctive. But the current incarnation of the script isn’t quite ready for prime-time. Despite the best efforts of the young cast, the show simply can’t sustain our interest.

Three siblings (Adele Dicks, Kristy LaPointe and Nathan Costa) have converged to throw their parents a party but preparations for the party become delayed by each of their variously comical problems. Someone’s stolen a laser rock; someone else is stalking a B-list celebrity. It’s all very clever but the script (and some of the performances) aren’t focused enough to give us a true sense of the dramatic  urgency inherent in the situation. This robs certain situations of their comedic possibilities. A lost cellphone needs to be played like it’s the end of the world; here, it is treated as a minor inconvenience. 

That being said, it’s always refreshing to see a show at the Fringe which is focused on the text rather than a clever concept. There are some good lines and the characters have great potential. Poelman’s bio implies he’s a bit of a newcomer to the scene and this production marks him as a man with talent. One can only hope that he will be given the opportunity to develop his skills. 

July 2 - 13

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