Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: (Toronto) Radical (Fringe)

Preaching to the Choir?
by Lisa McKeown

The play recounts the forgotten story of Dr. Vera Peters, a Canadian doctor in the 1970s who fought to radically alter breast cancer treatment for women. 

The character of Vera is well-written: smart, secure but also facing a lot of resistance to the idea that women should have just the cancerous mass removed instead of their entire breast. Jane Smythe does a great job depicting Vera's struggle that we learn is not just theoretical, but very very immediate when it gets revealed that her mother had breast cancer, and now Vera does too. 

One of the dangers of this kind of show, however, is that it can err towards the self-righteous. From the beginning the audience is onside with Vera and her friend the activist Rose, and her nemesis - the stubborn and sexist Dr. Fowler - is easy to hate. Which isn't to say that it wasn't at all an accurate representation of her struggles, but although it was an interesting history lesson, I came away somewhat dissatisfied, theatrically speaking. However the show was packed, and the audience loved it. So if this sounds like your thing, it's worth checking out! 

July 2 - 13

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