In/Side the Box (Sinéad Cormack) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

One of my favourite things about the Toronto Fringe Festival is that you never know what you’re going to get. In/side the Box created and performed by Sinéad Cormack at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Theatre was a show that fit the bill for unexpected.

On the stage sat a large metal contraption: four tall black poles with footholds placed about three feet high. The other half of the stage was covered by a white sheet which served as a projection screen.

When Cormack entered the space she placed herself in the centre of the metal poles, picked up a long rope, and began to tie it to the footholds. Slowly she began to create a web-like box around herself. Projected on the screen was a video of herself moving throughout the finished web-box she was creating before our eyes.

All that was running through my head during this display was, “how are they going to manage to dissemble this set in only fifteen minutes once the show is over?” Well my question was finally answered when Cormack finished the piece by doing just that: methodically breaking down her box.

It is clear that a lot of logistical preparation was necessary to make In/Side the Box possible. Cormack had to be very aware of where she was tying the string and be confident that her knots would hold as she balanced on the rope.

Though I appreciated the concept and themes of In/side the Box and was impressed by Cormack’s physical abilities, I’ll be honest that it wasn’t my favourite show I’ve seen so far during the Fringe. The material was very repetitive and slow to develop. For fans of concept driven physical theatre it’s worth checking out.


  • In/Side the Box plays at  venue 8 – Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79A Saint George St.
  • Performances run: Saturday July 7 at 12PM, Sunday July 8 at 10:45PM, Monday July 9 at 2:45PM, Wednesday July 11 at 7:30PM, Friday July 13 at 3:30PM, Sunday July 15 at 7:30PM.
  • All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge).
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.

Photo of Sinéad Cormack