Heart Strings: The Musical (MOLE productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

There is some very good singing in this play. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much more about it to enjoy.

I assume the performers have been trained and/or are experienced in singing. I can’t tell though, as the program has no information on them. Bewilderingly, it does list the playwright’s accomplishments as an automotive mechanic and devotes a whole page to summarizing the plot of the play itself.

I found the script to be a series of cliches awkwardly hobbled together; the dialogue as trite as the plot. At least the performer’s attempts at accents weren’t mangling otherwise decent lines.

The play is set in Northern Ireland in 1908. David Ludwig, playing the patriach, has a credible brogue. The fact that his daughter, Elizabeth, played by Iryna Sidaras, sounds Eastern European could possibly be justified by the background that she had just spent ten years in Germany – perhaps  Irish overlaid with German could sound Eastern European if you stretched your mind a little.

This issue was further confused by the manservant, Conrad, played by Clemente Carillo, having an Hispanic accent. He did appear Hispanic, but the play was otherwise cast colour-blindly. Most others seemed to be attempting a brogue, which is just not that easy an accent to attain, except for the German character who had no accent at all (or rather, had a North American accent, which you would detect if you were from elsewhere.)

I won’t get into the acting itself because I don’t think you can expect anyone to make a solid performance out of what I thought was a weak script. The singing, however, was great.

– Heart Strings: The Musical plays at Venue 9 Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College Street, 3rd flr

– Playing

Fri, July 15 4:30 PM 955
Sat, July 16 3:30 PM 962

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, 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

4 thoughts on “Heart Strings: The Musical (MOLE productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Ms. Emmerton,

    I have to say, I just read this review, and I haven’t seen the show, nor do I know the actors or anyone involved in the show; so please take this comment knowing it comes solely from what I have read.

    I think it’s weak and just poor writing when a reviewer says things like, “let’s hope they’re better at their day job”, because you know most actors do have to supplement their income. Many artists have other professions. Many artists are can do more than one thing. I know people who are a great talent at both.

    Now you have every right to dislike a performance and comment on it, same with the writing and production of said performance. But when you make it personal It clearly demonstrates to me your lack of ability.

    I always like reading mooney on theatre reviews because they seem to promote theatre rather than pick a part the hard work and the sweat individuals put into these productions. Yours on this review has failed.

    All I can say is: “it is, of course, possible to be both a review and a human being. Dorianne Emmerton, however, is hopefully a human being.”

    Honestly yours,

  2. I rather agree, though I don’t think you need to be so hostile. We reviewers simply do not have the time during Fringe to pay the usual attention to our work. I literally had an hour between shows wherein to find a place with wifi so I could write and post this review, and still allow for travel time to the next theatre. I have now edited to better express what I meant, which is not criticism that the playwright has a day job – don’t we all – but rather bewilderment at the inclusion of irrelevant information in the program while excluding any credits for the performers.

  3. I think my point hit home then, because I found your initial review to be unnecessarily hostile without the added benefit of being constructive so I used your tone to write this response. Not so much fun when it is directed back at the reviewer! To your point, no show should be held accountable for your scheduling. Your schedule is not an excuse to be mean. I take no issues with your thoughts on the inclusion of irrelevant information in the program while excluding any credits for the performers and I think that is certainly an error on the production’s part, and one that should be pointed out by reviewers such as yourself, so that they can learn from their choices. I would hate to know that the person you singled out based on information from the programme was made to feel any less qualified to have a show in the fringe.


  4. I am reading this comment stream much after the event and am, nevertheless, impressed by the process. This is a wonderful and needed use of the interactive media we call internet, when critic and audience (I know, Mark, you didn’t see the show, but you are standing in the place of the public in this interchange.) can meet, debate, share views and influence each other – even reshape the review!

    What would make it even better would be if it became a three-way discussion which included the people in the production. What fearlessness that would entail.

    And yet, it is always fearless to place your work before the public, where you can be recognized, publicly lauded or criticized, even humiliated. This is true, whether you are a performer, politician or even writer; but only through the brave sharing of what we are and what we have created thus far can we experiment, learn from our triumphs and mistakes, grow and develop.

    My congratulations to you Dorianne and to you, Mark, for your courage, flexibility and your humanity.

    Congratulations to the producers and performers of Heart Strings for their fine singing and their colour-blind casting. I did see the show, I didn’t find it to be any more cliche than Phantom or even Les Miserables (although they had to fit their story into a 60 minute time slot,) and the music was every bit as good.


Comments are closed.