The Fast Forward Revue


Toronto Fringe Review: Perfect Ending by E. Sempé

 

Fast Forward Rating: FFF½ (3½ out of 5)

 

Ironically enough, Peter McLaren’s Perfect Ending contains one of the best beginnings I’ve seen yet at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. This one-man show begins in complete darkness: you literally can’t see a thing, and the silence feels asphyxiating. A voice then tells the audience to take in the collective surroundings – a state of pitch blackness, a noiselessness that engulfs the room. This is what the end is like, the voice says. Nothing.

It certainly sets the tone of the play – which is simultaneously grim, intriguing, and bizarrely comical. The solemn voice that initially told you to observe all that nothingness is the same one that chimes in quirkily to remind audience members not to close their eyes – but they’re allowed to blink if they need to. Thus, Perfect Ending provides a light-hearted look at the end of the world – and all of the ways in which this “catastrophe” might happen.

The piece plays out predominantly as a quasi-conversation, as the character of David, a self-proclaimed apocalypticist lists and explains the top contender scenarios for the end of the world. Engaging and self-confident, actor-playwright Peter McLaren quite literally invites members of the audience to reveal their opinions regarding the universe and the apocalypse. And all using yes-or-no questions. Sure, it might be a bit awkward to raise your hand in the middle of a theatre to declare that “Yes, I think that the world will end within my lifetime” – but that’s where the play’s value and originality lies. It’s an exercise in realizing how you actually think and feel: in a way, it’s a kind of experiment. And thankfully, it’s not a musical.

All in all, Perfect Ending is a play that really gets you thinking. It provides a fresh take on a topic that’s been hacked at for the past few centuries. Original and imaginative, it’s definitely worth the ten-dollar ticket.

 

Perfect Ending is playing at St. Vladimir’s Theatre, 620 Spadina Ave. (S. of Harbord) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.

 

Tuesday, July 8, 10:45pm 
Wednesday, July 9, 4:30pm
Thursday, July 10, 1:45pm 
Saturday, July 12, 7:00pm

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1 Comment so far
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Way to go Pete!

Comment by Malcolm Inglis




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