Collapse (White Frames Productions) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Ryan Dillon

When was the last time you tried to please someone and completely failed at it? In a powerful solo act by comedian Ryan Dillon, Dillon takes the audience on a journey that makes us reflect on the choices we’ve made in our life. Are we people-pleasers? Does the idea of making everyone happy make you happy? Dillon stepped onto the Tarragon stage to tell us a story that was heartwarming, funny and compelling. Collapse at the Toronto Fringe Festival tugged at my heart strings and it gave me something to really think about.

Collapse connects to the human spirit and explores what drives us to make the decisions we do in life. It also brings up the topics of anxiety and bullying.

Dillon took us back into his childhood through its various trials and tribulations. With the use of lighting, he was able to highlight particular moments of his life. For example, one of his stories was about his favorite teacher in grade 4. Dillon cleverly transformed himself into her and by the end of the transformation, I gushed over her too.

There were a number of things that stood out to me in Collapse. One was Dillon’s authenticity and presence on stage. That is important in a solo act! Another was his remarkable way of telling a story. I was captivated by how he spoke with such ease. Overall, Dillon’s performance was strong despite a few jitters. And who wouldn’t have jitters on opening night at the Fringe?!

I also admired the simplicity of the whole play. No bells and whistles were needed. The script was strong enough to engage an almost sold out audience.

Dillon began and ended the show speaking about when he collapsed late last year. His story about what happened was completely relatable. We all experience stress and anxiety. The thing that I could relate to was the fear of even speaking about feeling anxious. There is a social stigma attached to speaking about mental health. I could also relate to the feeling of wanting to hide. I think everyone at some point in their life has wanted to disappear– even if it was for brief moment. Dillon brought up some important points in his own journey that made me reflect on my own patterns and behaviours.

If you are looking for a show that will make you laugh and contemplate life’s lessons, then you should definitely check out Collapse!


  • Collapse plays at the Tarragon Theatre Solo Room. (30 Bridgman Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warning: Mature Language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through an alternate route. Please arrive early and speak with the House Manager.


  • Thursday June 30th, 07:45 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 03:15 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 06:15 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 10:15 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 06:30 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 02:45 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 08:45 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 04:30 pm

Photo of Ryan Dillon by  Tony Lombardo