True (Criminal Theatre in association with Aluna Theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of True cast:  Ingrid Rae Doucet, Shannon Taylor, Layne Coleman, Sabrina Grdevich, Scott McCord. Photo by Aleyah Solomon

As I walked into Citizenry, a boutique on Queen West where Criminal Theatre is presenting their site-specific show True, there was an actor playing the piano built into the bar. His playing continued until the reveal of the first sister of a trio and the introduction of the main question in the play. Can you change your memories to change the result; the past’s future. Every year there’s a handful of good dramas presented at the Toronto Fringe Festival. This is one of them.

After these two characters left us alone in the shop to go grocery shopping we are introduced to their father, Roy. Walking into the shop and their lives after an unmentioned but seemingly long time, Roy also brings with him the memories of the three sisters’ troubled childhoods and his Alzheimer’s.

With hints of King Lear, True looks at what it would be like to deal with an abusive estranged father with Alzheimer’s. Throughout the play we also get glimpses into how this man affected each of the sisters’ lives.

As this play was set in a store, it was very appropriate that True was a site specific work. Even the colour theme in the store felt right for the story. The muted colours of the brick and wood floors of Citizenry went along with the serious tone of the play.

I quite enjoyed True, but I love intimate plays. Being set it in a store on Queen West there were definitely times when the actors were right beside you. In good shows this intimacy brings the work even more to life.

A great group of actors and a fabulous creative team also help to make a play and True had both of these things.  Ingrid Rae Doucet, Shannon Taylor, and Sabrina Grdevich played the three sisters, Cece (Celeste), Anita and Marie. Layne Coleman played Roy, the father, and Scott McCord played Marie’s husband Franko. True was directed by Rosa Laborde.

Being a site-specific show means that seating is very limited. I recommend that you buy your tickets a head of time if you want to see True.


True plays at the Citizenry. (982 Queen Street W., near Ossington Ave and Queen St. W.)

Show times
July 02 at 08:30 PM
July 03 at 08:30 PM
July 04 at 08:30 PM
July 05 at 08:30 PM
July 06 at 08:30 PM
July 08 at 08:30 PM
July 09 at 08:30 PM
July 10 at 08:30 PM
July 11 at 08:30 PM
July 12 at 08:30 PM

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.

 To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo of Ingrid Rae Doucet, Shannon Taylor, Layne Coleman, Sabrina Grdevich, Scott McCord. Photo by Aleyah Solomon