Well, the Toronto Fringe is upon us once again, that annual festival of well-intentioned but often agonizing independent theatre. So it is always nice to stumble across a genuinely excellent show amidst the chaff, a credit to Toronto's theatre community.
Dickens of the Mounted is just such a show. Telling the story of Frank Dickens, son to famous pater Charles and hapless member of the North West Mounted Police, it is a funny, fascinating and ultimately moving look at Canada as a young nation.
Dickens' letters back to England make up the show- a notoriously tricky format for a play, one that could easily slip into tedium. Kristian Bruun does a masterful job of injecting each piece of correspondence with humour and emotion, varying his pace and delivery to ensure a consistently engaging monologue.
Director Brad Lepp has assembled a slick and charming production, harnessing limited resources for maximum effect. Under Lepp's direction, the show is focused and snappy, allowing the quality of the underlying story to shine through.
So, if you like Canadian history, good theatre, or fresh combinations of the two, go see Dickens of the Mounted. A bargain at any price.
Times and ticket info is available on the show's website.