Reviews - Fringe 2019

A Time of Future Tales

By Brian Morton
Published July 21, 2019


Ten actors populate this theatrical speculation of an "end of the world" house party, which is plenty of mouths to feed in the midst of a climate change disaster. This is a time when walking outside in the daylight is potentially lethal, and so, holed up in small space, we discover that adults and several children are hosting a house party to create a sense of community, out of the darkness that surrounds them.

Created by Sheridan graduate Eudes La Roche-Francoeur, and featuring the artful direction of Macayla Paris, this new musical features a dozen or so original songs that riff on "the end of the world, as we know it".

Surprisingly, given the typical restrictions of a Fringe theatre show with limited tech set up time and access to technical support, I am pleased to report that the music in this clever production is remarkably well sung and arranged, with some stunningly beautiful harmonies.

Using but a single microphone on a stand and featuring a pirate-hatted master of ceremonies with a Fender Telecaster electric guitar, the music has a distinctly "RENT" like vibe. It is wonderful that enough electricity has survived the apocalypse to power the small amplifier that most of the songs in this play depend on.

Other musical instrumentation - including clarinet, fiddle, melodeon and percussion on various boxes and crates - gives this production an impressive palette of sounds to choose from. Musical director Juliette Jones has done a wonderful job exploiting the fine yet very different voices in the play.

While there may not be much of a story here, the moral implications of this production are quite profound. This bleak wasteland is the ultimate destination that the climate change deniers are leading us toward, a world in which the basic survival of the human race is at stake.

It is a cautionary tale that deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

Sadly, there was no program available for me to individually identify some of the extraordinary individual performances in this strong ensemble of actors. That is a pity, as the weaknesses of a few of the performers were more than balanced by the strength of voice of others. This is an ensemble that captures and holds the attention of the audience.

I found "A Time of Future Tales" to be a thoughtful piece of theatre that attempts to have it both ways. It is a commercial musical property, fully grounded in its circumstances, that should easily garner an audience. It also has a strong and important message to share.

I hope that the play gets developed further into a full length piece of theatre and finds its audience here at the Hamilton Fringe.

Brian Morton is a director and playwright, and was the recipient of the 2013 Hamilton Arts Award for Theatre. In 1988, after two years training in Montreal at the National Theatre School of Canada, Morton was the founder and first artistic director of Theatre Terra Nova, which operated out of a 100 seat theatre on Dundurn Street. Three years after that, he was a partner with Guy Sprung in the Evelyn Group, which reopened the historic 750 seat Tivoli Theatre, as a venue for live performance with a production of Douglas Rodger’s play “How Could You, Mrs Dick?”, which dramatized the story of Hamilton’s notorious Evelyn Dick. With Theatre Erebus, he produced the UK premieres of four Canadian plays for the 1990 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His stage adaptation of Sylvia Fraser’s “My Father’s House”, has had five productions, since it debuted in in 1992, at the Dundas Centre for the Arts. Morton’s “New Talent” was the highest grossing show in the 2008 Hamilton Fringe Festival, and in 2010, it toured to the London and Toronto Fringe Festivals. Brian’s original musical, “Under the Apple Tree”, about a shooting that happened backstage, at the Lyric theatre on Mary street in November 1921, debuted in the 2018 Hamilton Fringe Festival, and was presented at the 300-seat Zoetic Theatre; it got a second run at the Pearl Company, this past November. Brian was also the producer of the 2012 Hamilton Fringe Festival. He is currently a drama critic, and arts journalist for "VIEW Magazine", and has also published articles in the “Hamilton Spectator” and the “McMaster Silhouette”.

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