Tick (Lallygag Theatre) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Jessica Moss as TickTen-year-old Tick is going through a crisis: her library is being closed, her zoo is under threat, and none of the adults understands. But rather than blogging about it or moping around the house, Tick gathers her best friends and plots the overthrow of the oppressive grown-up regime. Will she succeed?

Oh, come on. It’s a Fringe show. Of course she does. But I guarantee you’ll want to share her adventure.

The writing behind this show is spectacular. Great pains have obviously been dedicated to ensuring that both Tick and her friends are relatable: Tick might be female, but her problems are universal, and it’s refreshing to have this treatment of a female protagonist. Instead of chasing a prince or trying to land a date for prom, Tick is growing into a bigger, better human being, and she’s doing it on her own terms.

This level of accessibility makes it incredibly easy to get wrapped up in these characters, which makes the story all the more touching–and the jokes all the more hilarious.

Jessica Moss (who plays Tick) is joined by three other actors, each playing multiple roles. The company meshes beautifully: young, energetic and utterly devoted to the part, they’re game for anything. They resist the urge to make the show too clever, cute or patronizing, which is an easy trap to fall into. There has also clearly been careful attention paid to developing and learning the mannerisms of ten-year-olds, which the cast deploy to remarkable success.

A few directorial choices struck me as unusual (a lengthy dance sequence and a tango scene both seemed slightly out of place), but the tone of the show is pitch-perfect–which is no easy task. Too firm a touch and you become patronizing and moralistic; too gentle and you’ve produced fluff. What we’ve got instead is perfection: a show which is hilarious, touching, and which has important lessons to teach.

A lot of it will run right over the heads of the ten-year-olds in the audience, but it was the parents (and grandparents) who laughed the hardest (and clapped the loudest) at the performance I saw. A wonderful show for all ages.

Details

  • Tick is playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Place).
  • Performances: July 05 08:15 PM; July 08 07:30 PM; July 09 02:00 PM; July 11 02:15 PM; July 12 04:00 PM; July 13 08:30 PM; July 14 05:45 PM
  • Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Latecomers will not be seated.
  • Tickets are also available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416 966 1062, or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.

Photograph of Jessica Moss by Max Telzerow.

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