Speare – Part II (Bear Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

There’s no sure-fire formula for success at Fringe, but the festival’s best plays have at least two things in common: they prize character over plot, and they deliver on whatever promises they’ve made the audience.

Bear Production’s Speare at the Factory Theatre Mainspace is an intelligent, ambitious idea – an interesting thought experiment given life by a talented cast. But it fails on both these counts. 

I won’t beat this poor dead horse beyond saying that the problems in plot and characterization that plagued Part I persist in the second act. What’s even more troubling this go around is that the play again builds toward a commercial for the series’ next ten-dollar installment. (Spoiler alert: this play never ends.)

As with Part 1, this episode of Speare finds a saving grace in its capable cast. Edward Kennington and Ryan McKeen steal the show as Iago and Edmund, busying themselves in one plot after another in pursuit of riches, while Roger McKeen offers up his take on Toby Belch with plenty of flair. If you have a shred of empathy left at the end of the hour, you’ll suffer alongside Speare’s cast as they choke out the play’s utterly unfulfilling final lines.

There’s a drinking game you can play with Speare. Every time you sink ten dollars and an hour of your life into an episode, only to see it end in “to be continued,” you go out and drown your sorrows at the Fringe Club. I’ll see you there.


  • Speare Part II plays at Venue #12, Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst Street).
  • Show times: July 10 3:00 PM, July 12 2:15 PM.
  • 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 – $9+$2 service charge)
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows