Nantucket (Mark Kenward Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Mark Kenward

When your problems are too big to handle, do you wish you could escape to an island paradise? Turns out, your problems follow you no matter where you go, as Mark Kenward (of Mark Kenward Productions) explores in Nantucket, now on stage at the Toronto Fringe Festival. The performance and narrative kept me interested and I enjoyed watching the plot thicken.

Nantucket is a solo performance starring Mark Kenward. He tells the story of his family’s move to the resort island of Nantucket. Instead of paradise, his family found the dreary off-season difficult to survive in more ways than one.

I find that one-person shows can be tough to pull off, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. I was pleasantly surprised. Kenward’s commitment to detail with each each character made the play dynamic to watch.

The narrative was intriguing. Kenward introduced the tale of a normal family looking for a new start, but quickly weaved something more dramatic. There were many moments of humour, but the overarching themes were dark.

Kenward portrayed each character with nuance and precision. I thought his best character was his mother. Without saying a single word, a subtle shift in posture and body language signalled that he was stepping into her role.

Equally impressive was his ability to juggle the dialogue of multiple characters at once. High intensity scenes with tense arguing were especially thrilling, as he shifted from character to character with seamless precision, never missing a beat.

For me it all came together with the climax of the play. Without giving away any spoilers, the family dynamic shifted dramatically, leading to a shocking conclusion.

It became clear at that point that the focus on the normalcy of his family and the lengthy introduction to their lives helped emphasize the moral of the story: you can’t escape your problems.

Paradise, like life itself, isn’t always beaches and sunshine. Take if from Kenward – even paradise has storms.


  • Nantucket is playing until July 11 at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace. (30 Bridgman Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
  • Be advised that this play portrays scenes of violence.

Remaining Showtimes
July 05 at 01:15 PM
July 06 at 04:30 PM
July 08 at 07:00 PM
July 10 at 01:45 PM
July 11 at 11:00 PM

Photo of Mark Kenward by David Allen