Omen: The Musical, produced by Eighteen Productions/ The Creation Coffin and playing at the Annex Theatre for the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a post-apocalyptic witch musical with a message: Save the environment.
The second doomsday is looming and Mother (Earth) is dying. The witches cast spells with dance as they desperately try to save Mother. I particularly love the Bacchic revelry of spell-casting, and celebrating witches. The melodic sighs and screams that accompany their songs are the perfect soundtrack for a coven.
I’m also happy to see that the production features strong female voices. The Creation Coffin is “founded on the premise of women creating female-focused work for women.” This really comes through in the play, as the strong women and their camaraderie are focal points of the production.
There was so much jam packed into the sixty minutes, however, that I found it a little overwhelming. While the audience gets to know Isla (Rachel Cvecich) and Aiden (Kat Letwin) quite well, to me the other witches could use further character development.
I felt some scenes were over-dramatized as well, but the actors committed their emotions to the play and truly conveyed the horror of a dying Earth. It didn’t seem like all the actors had a lot of experience in music, but Rachel Cvecich stood out as a strong singer with an obvious background in dance. Kat Letwin brought charisma and humour to the stage.
While the play didn’t have as large of a range of music as publicized, the songs were catchy. The actors gave it their all, especially during the musical numbers, and the songs were a crucial part of the story. Unfortunately, it was sometimes difficult to hear the sung words so some of the plot was lost on me.
It’s a nice touch that the witches’ powers are rooted in the natural world. Aiden is a fire witch, Daria (Marley Kajan) is a water witch, and Isla is a witch who communicates with mother earth. Wren’s (Rosie Callaghan) power is never stated in the play. The witches commune with the elements as they journey through the post-apocalyptic wasteland, furthering the environmental theme.
The production is so emotionally tense as the witches desperately work to save Mother, that when the tension is cut with a joke I find it feels a little forced. However, the audience around me often audibly chuckled.
While I feel that this production could use more refining, overall Omen: The Musical is an enjoyable experience with a dedicated cast and an important message.
- Omen: The Musical plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
- 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; fog or haze effects.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route which requires a staff escort. Check in at the box office at least 15 minutes prior to showtime.
- 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, 7:45 pm
- Friday July 5th, 2:45 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 6:15 pm
- Monday July 8th, 10:00 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 1:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 8:45 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 6:30 pm
Image is a portion of Omen: The Musical poster designed by Taylor Shouldice