The Ballad of Herbie Cox (Co. Sum of Its parts & Cie. Jozsef Trefeli) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

There’s nothing quite like family. The Ballad of Herbie Cox presented by Co. Sum of Its parts & Cie. Jozsek Trefeli at the Randolph Theatre joins the dance innitiative at the Toronto 2012 Fringe Festival from Melbourne, Australia. It is a patchwork quilt of song, dance and spoken word woven together by family stories.

Real life couple Victoria Chiu and Roland Cox lead the audience through the journey of their respective families using information learned during a series of interviews they did with their family members. Sometimes they retell the stories themselves, other times recordings of their family members speaking are played while the couple physically interprets the stories.

The atmosphere in the theatre is intimate and casual. Chiu and Cox speak to us as if we  are joining them in their own livingroom for tea. The informality of the work is a refreshing style of performance. It took me a while to become accustomed to Chiu and Cox’s relaxed style but once I settled into piece they had me along for the ride.

For me, it wasn’t so much about the stories themselves, but about the couple’s relationship to them as well as to each other. The moments that stand out in my mind are the ones where Chiu and Cox are directly interacting with each other. Their relationship is sweet and playful. It warms the heart and brings a smile to your face.

Plus the performancers are top notch. The respect both have earned in the dance world is well earned and Cox’s piano skills are an added pleasant surprise. At times I found the spoken word to be a little slow but as the show unfolded its place within the piece became more clear.

For anyone new to the world of contemporary dance The Ballad of Herbie Cox is a great show to checkout. It melds spoken word and movement in a way that is accessible for the less experienced dance audience yet also holds intruig for a more experienced dance watcher like myself.

I am so happy that Chiu and Cox decided to visit Toronto during their Fringe tour this year. Hopefully Toronto welcomes them with open arms.


  • The Ballad of Herbie Cox plays at the Randolph Theatre (Venue 4), 736 Bathurst St.
  • Saturday July 7 at 3:30PM, Sunday July 8 at 7PM, Wednesday July 11 at 5:45PM, Thursday July 12 at 3:30PM, Friday July 13 at 12PM, Saturday July 14 at 12:30PM.
  • 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 Victoria Chiu and Roland Cox.