Review: Fantasies and Other Poisons (Fickle Things)

Fantasies and Other Poisons takes you on a wild ride into an alternate universe at Winchester Street Theatre.

Fantasies and Other Poisons presented at the Winchester Street Theatre is the inaugural performance by the dance group Fickle Things. It is a presentation of five solo works by Sharon B. Moore which were originally created for the performers in their final year at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre.

The solos follow five quirky characters as they struggle through their personal challenges. Sylphia, Mr. Leftovers, Oracle, Olga and Almost Queen share their crazy personalities with the audience through humorous dialogue and unexpected movement choices.

Though advertised as a dance show, the work walks the line between physical theatre and contemporary dance. The dialogue is integral to the piece. It is often silly and senseless, but it also enhances the choreographic intention.

The movement is constantly traveling and changing. The solos share some similar movement motifs, but their relationship to the characters makes them seem like entirely different sequences.

The snappy dialogue and choreography is layered on top of classical music by Chopin and Beethoven. The music serves as a grounding element to a work that could very easily run wild and become out of control.

It is the four performers’ investment to their roles though that is the defining element of Fantasies and Other Poisons. Moore has given the dancers a work which has clearly pushed them as performers and they have risen to the challenge. Their characters are like an exaggerated extension of their own personalities. To see such developed physical commitment from artists is always exciting for an audience.

While watching Fantasies and Other Poisons I felt as if I had been whisked away into an alternate universe. My guest described the show as a crazy dream that made complete sense in the moment, yet you found hard to explain upon waking up the next morning.

What I was yearning for though, was more interaction between the characters. There were moments when the other dancers had cameos in each others’ solos, but their involvement was brief. To see these personalities engaging with one another for extended periods of time would have been so fulfilling. Perhaps Fickle Things is saving that development for their next show.


photo of  Jane Alison, Emma Kerson, Jillian Peever, and Freya Sargent.