Fuckboys the Musical rings in the Toronto Fringe Festival on a high note. A loud, hilarious, literally high-on-ecstacy note in 4-part harmony. Blowing up the stage at Streetcar Crowsnest Mainspace, this show by Generation Productions is a punchy girls-night-out for anyone who’s been down the bumpy road that is modern friendships and dating.
One part musical, one part rom-com and one part TED Talk, this show follows a group of four girlfriends through their Wednesday night karaoke get-togethers as they try to survive the epidemic known as ‘fuckboys’.
A general definition of a fuckboy, one which this show abides by, is that of a disrespectful and toxic male, particularly in regards to courtship. They can look like anyone, and by the time you can identify them it is already too late.
The primary cast of women had a brilliant energy about them. Their mannerisms and comfort on stage made them read as true, bonded friends with real-life problems. They maintained sharp and snappy delivery without feeling rehearsed, and were able to improvise with each other and the audience confidently. It genuinely felt like a group of people I would want to hang out with, even with their staggering drinking habits. The characters felt a bit like movie archetypes – there’s the carefree stoner, the bitchy bossy one, the sad girl recovering from heartbreak and the level-headed normal-seeming one – but they never felt formulaic or predictable.
That all isn’t to say the show is devoid of positive examples of men – in fact, the titular villanous “fuckboys” appear in passing, largely spoken of rather than shown like a boogeyman for modern, grownup women. This is a very sharp narrative choice as it allows audience members to bring their own experiences into the scenarios. In fact, most of the primary male characters in this production are empathetic and supportive of their female friends and lovers. Take note, gentlemen in the audience: fewer unsolicited dick pics, more listening skills.
Lyrics were punchy and clever, with music ranging from rap to romantic ballads to, of course, drunken karaoke. A lot was happening on stage, even in the slower more dramatic scenes, but the pace was smooth. Scenes transitioned and musical numbers started and ended with a smooth and natural tone without feeling frenetic.
In particular, I couldn’t help but notice the ambitious number of costume quickchanges for a 90-minute Fringe show. We see more tightly-wound characters go through a number of power suits before literally letting their hair down. Our resident hippie gets a repetoire of flower crowns and party outfits. The attention to detail in having characters change outfits as time passes is a visual delight and a technical marvel.
Bring your girlfriends, your boyfriends, your parents, your dog (but not actually unless they are a trained support animal), and your neighbor to see this show. The music is tight, the writing is polished, and the jokes land. I laughed the whole time.
- Fuckboys the Musical plays at the Streetcar Crowsnest Mainspace. (345 Carlaw Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: mature language; not recommended for children.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Wednesday July 3rd, 10:00 pm
- Friday July 5th, 5:30 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 8:00 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 2:45 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 5:30 pm
- Friday July 12th, 1:00 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 4:30pm
Cast Photo (left to right): Kendall Leamy, Joseph Adam Gonzalez, Savanah Pedersen, Brandon Munoz-Dominguez, Beth Ann Stripling, Nicole Visco, and Hayley VerValin
Photo by Aaron Safer