The Naked Ballerina (Sarah Murphy-Dyson) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Crystal Wood

If Mooney on Theatre had our own Pick of the Fringe system in place, I think I would nominate The Naked Ballerina for it.

I may be a little biased, because I grew up as a dancer and a Winnipegger (I saw The Naked Ballerina creator Sarah Murphy-Dyson perform many times as a soloist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet).  But take that for what it’s worth.  A good play is a good play, and I thought this was a very good play.

Murphy-Dyson presents a loosely autobiographical portrayal of her life as a dancer through the character of “Gwyn.”  (Which parts of the play are real and which aren’t?  It’s tough to tell, but it almost doesn’t matter.)  She presents all the things we might expect in the life of a ballerina – bulimia, body issues, competition – and weaves in the everyday difficulties that we all experience – teenage traumas and the search for love.  She lets us in on how difficult it is to feel normal on the inside when it’s her professional job to look perfect on the outside.

The play is both funnier than I expected it to be, and completely moving at the same time.  From what I can tell, it’s Murphy-Dyson’s first script (with dramaturgy by Wes Berger) and I think this could be the start of a new career as a writer if she chose.  I would have liked a little more dancing (because I always want more dancing, even when I’m at the dentist), but The Naked Ballerina is so entertaining, I almost didn’t miss it.

Go, run, even jeté to see this show.


– Venue 10, Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

– Showtimes:
Sat, July 3 11:00 PM
Sun, July 4 8:45 PM
Wed, July 7 4:15 PM
Thu, July 8 Noon
Fri, July 9 6:15 PM
Sat, July 10 1:45 PM

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416-966-1062, or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

Photo of Sarah Murphy-Dyson by Dejon