Medicine (Big Sandwich Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

TJ  Dawe in Medicine at the Toronto Fringe 2012

TJ Dawe is a favourite with Fringe audiences. Dawe is an autobiographical storyteller and Medicine is the latest installment in the stories of his life. This is the first time that I’ve seen Dawe so I didn’t know if the show was a typical format for him. The woman sitting next to me said that it was but that Medicine was much more personal than his other shows.

She also said that this was the first show that made her cry and that she doesn’t cry easily.¬† I do cry easily so you can imagine the state I was in. Before I go on I should say that I loved Medicine and can completely understand why Dawe is so popular with Fringe audiences.

Medicine is the story of a retreat led by Dr. Gabor Mate that Dawe attended. The retreat included shamans and ayahuasca, a Peruvian brew which is supposed to open human consciousness. This is a very personal, intimate story. Dawe tells us about himself and his background and about what happens to him at the retreat.

Dawe is a compelling storyteller. He weaves the retreat story in and out of less serious observation, and asides that lighten the piece. It’s interesting that when he switches to one of the asides the lighting changes, becoming brighter and softer. It’s a handy cue later in the show. The changing light lets me know that I’m not going to cry for the next few minutes, that I can take a couple of minutes to compose myself. And probably laugh. It’s actually an emotionally fulfilling performance. Definitely worth seeing.


  • Medicine¬†plays at Venue 8 – Helen Gardner Phelan Playhouse (79A Saint George St.)
  • Showtimes are July 07 07:30 PM, July 08 03:15 PM, July 10 03:00 PM, July 11 09:15 PM, July 12 12:15 PM, July 14 11:00 PM
  • All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also available online at, by phone at 416-966-1062, or 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