Deep End (New Story Productions) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Picture of Rami Khan, Alyssa Pothier, Natalie Morgan, Terri Pimblett, Aris Tyros, and Tatyanna Mitchel in Deep End

Deep End, produced by New Story Productions and playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is the story of a bullied girl at a pool party.

The play sets itself up for a developed story arc. The characters step forward and speak directly to the audience. This gives us a sense of their personality which carries through the rest of the production. However, the action happens so fast that there is very little actual story. The play is billed as 40 minutes but it actually runs closer to 30 minutes.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The production hones in on its message of anti-bullying. A bullied outsider is a story that we’ve heard over and over again. There’s no need to adorn the plot. It’s the message that’s important.

There are some brief touches on body image anxiety and the social pressures of high school. Most importantly, director, writer, and producer Armon Ghaeinizadeh carves out time to address racial issues. Particularly when the partygoers discuss racism in the TDSB.

All this goes on as clever jokes and insults are thrown across the pool. The popular kids enjoy themselves, basking in the antics. Meanwhile, Lilly (played by Tatyana Mitchel and Natalie Morgan) stays off on her own at the corner of the pool. At least until she becomes the target of bullying.

All the actors embody their typecast teenage roles to a tee. Adriana (Terri Pimblett) and Carina (Alyssa Pothier) excel at playing the mean girls. Terri Pimblett bravely pushes past what seems to be a technical difficulty by singing the lyrics to a song that doesn’t play properly over the speakers.

While I wish there had been a little more substance to counteract Lilly’s long and slightly redundant monologue, I thoroughly enjoyed the production. Deep End is a unique take on the classic topic of bullying and a great opportunity to see a play at a pool.

Details

  • DEEP END plays at the Miles Nadal JCC Swimming Pool. (750 Spadina 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 Warning: mature language.
  • 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.

Performances

  • Saturday July 6th, 8:00 pm
  • Sunday July 7th, 8:00 pm
  • Thursday July 11th, 9:30 pm
  • Friday July 12th, 9:30 pm
  • Saturday July 13th, 8:00 pm
  • Sunday July 14th, 8:00 pm

Photo of Rami Khan, Alyssa Pothier, Natalie Morgan, Terri Pimblett, Aris Tyros, and Tatyanna Mitchel by Pouria Hosseini