Review: This Is What Happens Next (Necessary Angel)

Daniel MacIvor performs his solo play This Is What Happens Next at Toronto’s Factory Theatre

A few years ago, Daniel MacIvor, prolific Canadian playwright, director and performer, swore off performing solo shows. Though I’ve seen a few productions of MacIvor’s plays including a few in which he performed, I hadn’t experienced MacIvor in a one-man show. After seeing his newest solo play, This Is What Happens Next, I’m glad he reconsidered his decision to abandon the genre.

In the program notes MacIvor states that he struck a deal with director Daniel Brooks who agreed to direct the show on the condition that the stories in it be true. While “truth” is a highly subjective concept and the stories in the show did not actually occur in real life, MacIvor mines real life experiences to create characters who are struggling with loss, in transition, and trying to move on and establish a sense of normalcy in their lives.

From the moment MacIvor bursts on stage he captures the audience’s attention. With the skill of a master storyteller and often the timing of a stand-up comedian MacIvor proves to be a theatrical wizard as he deftly weaves together a series of narrative threads told in sequence by different characters.

The story, at times laugh-out-loud funny and at times turning down darker paths, is told as a series of monologues delivered by a collection of disparate characters; a man returning to collect his things from his ex-husband’s house after a recent break-up, a middle aged single-mom divorce attorney, a transgender astrologer, a drunken deadbeat father and an impish 7- or 8-year old boy.

The cast of characters ranges from relatable to outlandish. At times MacIvor channels people who feel like full-fledge human beings, at other times his high-energy style is a bit over-the-top and he delivers caricatures instead. Regardless, he’s consistently engaging and fun to watch.

MacIvor’s delivery is helped by simple yet effective production design. Kimberly Purtell’s lighting and Richard Feren’s sound accentuate the story punctuating it at appropriate moments.

With This Is What Happens Next MacIvor reminds us why he is a master storyteller. His energy never falters as he delivers the 90-minute show at dizzying rapid-fire pace. MacIvor is engaging and entertaining throughout and takes us on one hell of a wild ride.

Details:

  • This Is What Happens Next is playing through December 9, 2012 at the Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street (at Adelaide), Toronto.
  • Shows run Tuesday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
  • Tickets $15 – $25. Students and seniors receive $5 off regular admission.
  • Tickets are available in person at the Factory Theatre box office, by phone at 416-504-9971, online at www.factorytheatre.ca or by e-mail at info@necessaryangel.com.

Photo of Daniel MacIvor by Guntar Kravis

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