The Teeny Tiny Music Show produced by Sneaky Sneaky Productions is performing as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. I’ll level with you: this was the last review assignment I picked up for this year’s Fringe coverage, and I really didn’t know what to expect.
The description—something about a singer/piano duo’s final show—sounded vague and not entirely convincing. But the fact that it was a site-specific show staged in the nondescript piano bar on the second floor of Pauper’s Pub, and that the bar would be serving during the show, was enough for me to take a chance on it.
The show starts in a kind of low-key way. Writer and lead performer Hayley Pace takes the mic with musical director Luc Gaylie accompanying on the piano to perform a cover of a song by American jazz singer Kay Starr. Shortly thereafter, there’s a bit where she has a staged emotional breakdown and storms off with the show’s director running after her. I breathed a heavy sigh, thought, “this is some tired schtick” and wondered what I had signed up for.
Luckily, what followed surprised and delighted me, and I’m glad I took a chance on this show. After a bit of a shaky start, Pace returns to recount the tale of her brief but torrid love affair with a saxophone player from Detroit.
Soon after she starts her story, musicians burst through the doors one-by-one; guitars, drums, trumpet, trombone, saxophones, even a sousaphone. Eventually an entire nine-piece band fills the room. Pace continues her narrative, pausing periodically to incorporate music and dance numbers covering an eclectic range of artists from Maria McKee to Meat Loaf.
The cast moves about the entire space, filling it with music and movement. I loved the energy of the performance, which had audience members clapping and swaying in their seats or on their barstools throughout.
The production team hasn’t quite perfected the sound mix for the space, and at times the dialogue was inaudible, but it may not be that big of an issue. Truth be told, I wasn’t exactly sure whether the music was intended to highlight parts of the narrative or if the narrative was simply a framing device for the musical numbers. But even if I still had some reservations about the structure of the show, the music eventually won me over and I ended up having a wonderful time.
- The Teeny Tiny Music Show plays at Pauper’s Pub. (539 Bloor St. W.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warnings: No Minors Admitted, Audience Participation, Mature Language.
- The Fringe Festival does not consider this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
- Wednesday July 5th, 08:15 pm
- Thursday July 6th, 07:45 pm
- Friday July 7th, 06:30 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 04:00 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 09:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 09:15 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 07:45 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 07:15 pm
- Friday July 14th, 06:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 07:30 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 07:45 pm
Photo of Hayley Pace, Daniel Walsh, Jeremy Deveaux, Nick Marshall, Nicholas Scott, Ravish Kamath, Adam Borohov, Luc Gaylie, Guillermo de la Rosa, Joseph Callender by Ron Van Zutphen