The Nails (JSquared Theatre) 2017 SummerWorks Reviews

The Nails by JSquared Theatre at SummerWorks 2017 is a psuedo-abstract coming of age story where our lead character grows up in a violent, racist, and disillusioned world. Through a mixture of monologues, two-hander scenes, and clever staging, we watch as a young woman reluctantly embraces her world and, her attempt to reconcile it.

My impression is that this show tends to operate under the belief that I already know this world very well, which I don’t. Overall, I found it hard to follow, and often wouldn’t know what happened in one scene until it was clarified in the next.

An accent is written into these characters, and the dialogue is all quite natural and believable on paper. However, this accent sits awkwardly in the mouths of most of the actors. Dialect training might help bring it to life.

I was never bored watching the show. Every scene is visually dynamic, and I find the lighting and set complement each other. A trifold mirror on wheels reminds us constantly of how much this fictional world is, in fact, a reflection of real life.

It feels like we’re in a rush. Juicy moments of intimacy are glazed over. It’s all there, but it never reaches my heart. I wish it would, because there are some poignant points hiding up there.

I appreciate the violent nature of this world. Too often, theatre is polite, never allowed to escalate. This show embraces escalation. It is a visceral, powerful choice.

Fake blood is used, as is graphic descriptive language. There is also an emotionally violent conversation from parent to child. Be advised if that is triggering for you.

Visually interesting and confidently aggressive, this show most certainly believes in itself. Perhaps more clarity will come to you in your watching.


The Nails plays at Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street.

  • Sunday August 6th 2:45pm – 4:00pm
  • Monday August 7th 7:15pm – 8:30pm
  • Tuesday August 8th 10:00pm – 11:15pm
  • Thursday August 10th 7:30pm – 8:45pm
  • Saturday August 12th 4:15pm – 5:30pm
  • Sunday August 13th 1:00pm – 2:15pm

SummerWorks tickets are now Pay What You Decide at $15, $25, or $35, whichever suits your budget. All tickets are general admission and there are no limits to any price level. Tickets are available at the performance venue (cash only), online and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 1-13 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 7 shows.

 Audience Advisory: Coarse language, violence, mature themes. 18+
Image illustrated by Evelisa Natasha.

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