Busyness (little red theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Jada Rifkin

Busyness is a Toronto FringeKids! production playing at the Palmerston Library. Created by the little red theatre, this semi-wordless show is an amusing musical performed by three young, earnest actors.

Written by Daniel Cipilinsky and directed by Jody Terio, Busyness is a story of friendship revealed through constant action, varying music, as well as props such as a recorder, apple, hat, stuffed bear and broom. A forest fairy (Jada Rifkin) meets a cellphone-addicted businessman (Adrian Yearwood), and they form a bond.

Silly laughs erupted from the younger members of the audience throughout the show, mostly due to pranks; kids were giggling when the fairy stole the gentleman’s apple and fancy jacket.

A banjo-playing janitor (Al Val) character makes an entrance seemingly out of nowhere. That being said, the kids took to him right away. They were immediately swaying their legs, and parents and kids alike were clapping and humming too. My young Fringe companion was glued to him, and he told me afterwards that he was his favourite character.

There were other aspects that felt like they came out of nowhere for me: A freaky backdrop image of a googly-eyed monster made two appearances in the show and I didn’t understand who it was or why it was there; and the entrance of a purple dragon didn’t seem to fit in either.

As a whole, I personally did not find the lack of speech effective in the play.  I didn’t see the value of not using the English language.  The actors spoke gibberish. And when Yearwood’s mumbling murmurs seemed like actual words, I became even more disoriented.

I would have preferred the director to make a choice: have the actors be totally silent, or speak in completely unrecognizable sounds (which mostly happened), or use English, plain and simple.

All in all, the play seemed well-received by the younger kids. They didn’t mind not “getting” the storyline as my adult self did. So if your five-year-old likes jokes and music, by all means, bring your kid to Busyness.



Busyness plays at the Palmerston Library. (560 Palmerston Ave., near Bathurst and Bloor.)

Show times
July 03 at 04:00 PM
July 04 at 07:00 PM
July 05 at 11:00 AM
July 06 at 05:00 PM
July 07 at 01:00 PM
July 09 at 07:15 PM
July 11 at 01:00 AM
July 12 at 04:00 PM

Tickets for FringeKids! productions are $10 for adults, $5 for those 12 or younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door (cash-only), or can be purchased in advance for a $2 service charge either 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.

LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.


Photo of Jada Rifkin by Jody Terio


One thought on “Busyness (little red theatre) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. I’m an “older kid” and I really enjoyed this. Each of the players were enchanting and really played to the kids, who lapped it up.
    The muffled English/gibberish reminded me of the way adults got voiced in the old Charlie Brown cartoon specials, and I had a laugh remembering that.
    I’d recommend this to people with kids from 3-112!

Comments are closed.