discharge (metamorphosis dance theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

 discharge is a show that takes a lot of risks.  While it doesn’t answer any profound questions about life and love, the creators turn themselves inside-out to reveal their souls to the audience.

It’s a bit difficult to describe this non-linear dance/theatre piece, so forgive me for stealing from the program notes here.  Co-creator Tyson James refers to it as “wild and sexy, and full of sass, but it’s also full of confusion and sadness.”  I’d say that’s a fair description – all of those emotions come across in a brief 50-minute show.

James is a rather elegant drag queen onstage, while his co-star Paul Charbonneau is more of a gay club kid. They take us through a series of monologues (some enhanced by voiceover) and dance pieces, illustrating some of the things they’ve come to discover about themselves and their sexuality.

Like any show that is made of a series of pieces, some moments come across stronger than others.  I think I liked their monologues the best, like when James tells about his rough high school experience and his self-discovery in theatre school.  I also enjoyed when Charbonneau showed off his skills as a contemporary dancer; his technique was quite strong.

That said, there is a dance piece in the middle of the show that goes a little too long for my liking.  Performed only to the sounds of grunting and moaning, it shocks at first but starts to grate on the ears after a couple of minutes.  I also wish that James and Charbonneau’s characters interacted more.  Although they do physically dance together at times, their stories skew in opposite directions, so it sometimes feels like two one-man shows put together.

discharge has only one show left, so head down to the Robert Gill Theatre on Sunday if you want to see what is probably one of the more boundary-pushing works at this year’s Fringe.


discharge is playing at The Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College Street, Toronto

Showtime: 50 min.

Sun, July 17. 2011 2:45 PM

– Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only.
– Latecomers will not be permitted.
– Tickets are also available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 or in person at The Fringe Tent (behind Honest Ed’s). Advance tickets are $11 – $10 + $1 convenience fee.
– Money saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.