Apt613 is trying to see every show on opening weekend of the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.
by Abi Morgan
60 min / Drama / Mature
Tiny Dynamite has a lot going for it: playwright Abi Morgan has enjoyed a wealth of success in the UK both in theatre and film, and young actors Rafael Fantacci, Adrien Pyke, and Helen Thai (all of whom direct and design set, costumes, lighting and sound as well) perform her 2001 work – which was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – with gusto. Still, there’s something missing in this interpretation that doesn’t quite reach the explosiveness this play purports to achieve.
Lucien (played by Adrien Pyke) feels responsible for his brother Anthony (Rafael Fantacci), who doesn’t seem to be able to function on his own – though both brothers are maladjusted in different ways. They both feel an attraction for their friend Madeleine (played by Helen Thai) who serves as a sounding board for both brothers and gives them something to talk about beyond the odd obituaries they find themselves drawn to in the newspaper.
In St. Paul’s Eastern United Church, a BYOV venue, I found the room’s echo presented a challenge in hearing the actors clearly throughout the performance, especially when they were facing away from me in the show’s in-the-round formation. And yet within the space, they create an intriguing atmosphere with a circle of lights on the ground and revolving pieces of furniture and props that purposefully reflect the chaos increasing between them. Their agile choreography, too, is quite good, though its meaning is not always evident.
While artistic consultants are listed in the program, perhaps a more consistent outside eye (i.e. a director who was not also a member of the cast) would have been beneficial for accentuating certain moments of tenderness, toning down some of the drama, and striving for more clarity overall.
Tiny Dynamite is playing at St. Paul’s Eastern United (473 Cumberland St) until Saturday June 17, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info.