CHAOTICA (Dutch Girl Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

Christel Bartelse has woken up inside a board game. A disembodied voice directs her how to play — choose a card, open a box, wear a costume. You can’t leave ‘til you’re done. The play’s moniker, CHAOTICA, is a perfect description for the chaos that ensues once the stage lights go up. We experience Bartelse’s life in hilarious little snippets — here she’s tap-dancing as she waits tables, there she’s performing a sultry piano ballad about self-mutilation, then she’s imagining her life had she followed her parents’ wishes and become a lawyer instead of a performance artist (I, for one, am thankful she didn’t).

The one-woman show is written and produced by Bartelse (via her company Dutch Girl Productions). There is an interactive element, which I normally despise, but her improv was hilarious enough that I can forgive it this once. With each new turn, she’s forced to confront a less-than-desirable aspect of her personality, or is offered a glimpse at what her future might be if she chooses a certain path.

I particularly enjoyed her turn as a 60s-style beauty-o-naut where she sings praises of all her body parts — “I love my legs, that’s why I wax them. I love my lips, that’s why I inject them with collagen…” And then there’s the subtle way she used her bitingly, self-deprecating humour to get her ideas across without sounding preachy. This show is fun, funny and will have you wishing that real life came with get out of baby burden cards.


CHAOTICA is playing at Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto. 

Showtimes: 60 min.

Thu, July 7 11:00 PM 206
Sat, July 9 5:15 PM 216
Sun, July 10 4:45 PM 222
Mon, July 11 2:45 PM 227
Tue, July 12 8:45 PM 236
Wed, July 13 9:15 PM 243
Thu, July 14 7:00 PM 249

– Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only.
– Late comers will not be permitted.
– Tickets are also available online at, by phone at 416-966-1062 or in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts (736 Bathurst St). Advance tickets are $11 – $10 + $1 convenience fee.
– Money saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.

Photo credit to Dutch Girl Productions. In photo:  Christel Bartelse. 

4 thoughts on “CHAOTICA (Dutch Girl Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Life as a game could have been a thin conceit, but turns into a great framework that lets Bartelese make full use of dancing and singing to explore her options. While the character begged for a time out, the audience never did.

  2. Nicely put Fannishsunny! I also loved the variety Bartelese packed into her play. Sometimes I wish life came with a timeout box.

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