by Paula Citron
Next Stage Festival
Kate Hewlett’s Humans Anonymous, directed by Andrew Hachey
Starring Michelle Giroux, Philip Graeme, Mayko Nguyen, Greogory Prest and Hewlett
Solid State Breakdance’s Take It Back, choreographed by JoDee Allen and Helen Simard
Performed by Christian Garmatter, Milan Panet-Gigon, Allen and Simard
At Factory Theatre Mainspace until Jan. 18
The last of the eight productions at the Next Stage Festival are a play and a dance show.
Kate Hewlett’s Humans Anonymous is an intriguing look at 21st century angst, both romantic and otherwise, as seen through five very different characters. Hewlett’s plot mechinations are both amusing and unpredictable. Montreal’s Solid State Breakdance’s retooled Take It Back is a delightfully sly fusion of hip-hop and swing that draws parallels between personal relationships, and couples dancing versus bravura solos.
Humans Anonymous and Take it Back continue at Factory Theatre Mainspace until Jan. 18.
Overall, Next Stage Festival is very, very strong. The event is the curated winter offering of the Toronto Fringe Festival, and the shows are attracting sold-out crowds. Because it is a Fringe event, the plays have an edge, and present a fascinating picture of the enormous talent operating within the alternative theatre scene.
This is the last weekend for Next Stage, and it is absolutely worth a visit.