Breadwinner (Megan Benjafield) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Crystal Wood

My favourite parts of Sex and the City were always when Carrie and friends went to brunch. There were no boys, inexplicably expensive shoes, or yet another gratuitous scene of Samantha having sex. Just four women talking about the things that women think about. Breadwinner is like that.

Plus it’s a musical!

The women in Breadwinner are Andy (Christine Aziz), Chris (Ashley Gibson), Pat (Mallary Davenport) and… Harold? (Amanda Dwyer) Harold’s name is really Gillian, but she has a male nickname to match her friends. Or is it because they all play the traditional male role in their households? You see, these women are the breadwinners in their family, when they’re not busy being the mothers and the housekeepers too. Exhausted by this lifestyle, they meet to drink sangria and discuss their lives. As the alcohol flows, so do the gossip and repressed feelings about the state of their relationships.

The show is animated and fun, and the songs (written by Megan Banjafield) were pretty fun too. Chris sings an amusing rant about how much she hates living in small-town Ontario, but Harold’s “how did I get here?” ballad was my favourite piece of the production.

Breadwinner doesn’t presume to answer any questions about the pressure for women to have it all, but it offers a comforting sense that we’re not alone. (Note: before I make this sound like an estrogen-fest, there is plenty of humour for both sexes. Everyone who participated in the standing ovation after the performance would seem to agree.)


– Venue 5, Annex Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street

– Showtimes:
Sun, July 4 7:00 PM
Tue, July 6 4:45 PM
Thu, July 8 5:45 PM
Fri, July 9 2:15 PM
Sat, July 10 9:45 PM

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only), Online at, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person (June 30 – July 11 only) at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee), and $5 for FringeKids (no convenience fee for kids tickets).
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

0 thoughts on “Breadwinner (Megan Benjafield) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Yeah! Crystal Wood got it. The Music was spectacular, and the actors impressive and lively. This was a Fringe experience we’d love to have the chance to repeat.

    This kind of story is hitting the mainline press (see Margaret Wente’s rant in a recent Globe and Mail)… Women breadwinners and the impact it has on their relationships. Bravo to the cast and the the musician playwrite. This said from an not-young not-head breadwinner in my family, but I see so many young women with this dilemma.

    Aside from all that, what fun it was!

  2. This review definitely speaks the truth. The show touches on some very interesting topics from single life to child birth with both wit and sincerity allowing women to recognize aspects of themselves in each of the characters.
    With strong vocals, as well as great moments of acting this show speaks to women of all ages.
    The complex relationships that women have with their friends is something that is often misunderstood by their male counterparts so not only is this show a great show for women and their friends but also gives the “guys” an insight into the lives and friendships of their partners.
    The show is fun and uplifting and a definite must see during this years Fringe!

  3. You hit the nail on the head! It was a great times serious, but mostly uplifting and a lot of fun. I loved it

  4. I thought the show was an authentic representation of how women converse when they are with trusted friends. Even though I am not a child of a feminist (much too old for that), I could relate to many of the characters.

    I really enjoyed the performances. I was completed engaged by the characters and the story throughout. Well done, all!!

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