The Boy Who Cried Wolf ( 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should confess at the very beginning of this post that I had to leave the show early.  Not due to any fault of the production, but for reasons that will be mentioned a little later. So, keep that in mind as you read the rest of the review.

I discussed whether or not I should do a write up with my editor.  She said that normally we would never actually publish a review based on a partial viewing, but there is no time for anyone to go back, and we really want to give the show some coverage.  So, we decided to publish the review anyway.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is part of the FringeKids! series, and is billed as a fun, modernist adaptation of Aesop’s classic fable, that is appropriate for the whole family.  It’s directed by M.E. Jenkins, with the adaptation credited to the company.

Setting up the show are the boy’s sheep, addressing the audience directly, and from what I could tell, immediately getting the attention of the kids in the audience. The sheep were created in part thanks to some very cool looking masks.  Unfortunately, since the masks were very long, they did tend to muddy the sound of their dialogue a little bit.  In some shows muddy dialogue isn’t that big a deal, but in a room full of excited kids it can be a bit frustrating.

On the other hand, in a kids show the dialogue is often lower on the priority list than things like movement and costumes and energy.  The energy from the stage was obvious when the boy (who would eventually cry wolf) came on stage crying wolf and bringing the rest of the cast yelling to his assistance.

Enough energy in fact to scare my 17 month old son to the point where we needed to leave the room because he started to cry.  Now, 17 months is pretty young, and most people won’t be bringing kids that young, but my son is usually pretty excited to watch these kinds of things which is why I thought it would be okay.  As a general rule, kids shows at the Fringe are aimed for 5 years old and up.  That’s a number, of course, that should always be taken with a grain of salt, you know your kids, and what they are likely to enjoy or not enjoy.  But, I do feel that perhaps this one is aimed at an age bracket a bit older than 5.

As I said above, I don’t think this reflects badly on the production.  It was just an indication of the energy and stimulation my son could handle at the time.  My guess is that for a kid around 8 or 10 years old, this would probably be perfect.  Just be aware of the noise/energy/yelling factor if you want to bring a kid who might be a little more sensitive to that sort of thing.

A minor quibble I did have was that I thought the lighting, perhaps in an attempt to be atmospheric, was too dim and made things difficult to see.  To be perfectly fair, it might have got better as the production went on, so take my comment with a sheep sized salt-lick.

Basically, the show was visually interesting, and looked to be a great high-energy and fun retelling of a classic story.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf is, like all the FringeKids! productions, playing at the Palmerston Library Theatre – 560 Palmerston Ave. There are a couple more showings left, both tonight and tomorrow, but the kids shows are selling out fast, so get there early:

Fri, July 9 6:00 PM
Sat, July10 11:00 AM