TRUNK! by Vancouver’s Kerploding Theatre is playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival. It takes you on a whirlwind adventure through three different kingdoms, each with their own totem to rescue. This production has colourful characters, hummable music and a guitar playing dragon: what could be better than that!
An adventure-seeking Daisy (Haley Garnet), with the help of the whimsically musical narrating Decision Dragon (Francis Melling), must rescue Daisy’s brother, a misunderstood Oliver (Kaeden Derksen) from the evil wrath of evil queen Gwilana (Hannah Ehman).
The cast is in action the entire time and seem to have boundless energy. I was waiting for the pace to drop, but it never did! Shaquille Pottinger does a stand-up job playing a bunch of hilarious characters, including a dazed duck, a bumbling Dad and a really regal Sky King.
As our friendly, gentle narrator, Melling wears a fully costumed dragon suit complete with tie dye wings as he strums out sweet melodies to the side of the stage. Daisy and Oliver (Haley Garnet and Kaeden Derksen) carry the plot with enthusiasm and an adventurous attitude. Hannah Ehman is a perfect villainess (but don’t worry: she’s not too scary) and plays a very convincing evil queen.
A major highlight for me in this show was the design. At times I felt like I was watching an Off-Broadway show. It was simply stunning. The costumes are designed so well, especially Swamperella’s costume, which had mangled twigs and leaves sprouting from her fingers. The design and costumes in TRUNK! have an everlasting, iconic feel, something of a professional calibre and it was a huge positive for me.
I also have to add that the kids in the audience seemed to really like it. They were engaged at audience participation moments and seemed to be laughing along to jokes and reacting to what was happening on stage. The cast also took the precaution before the show to play any loud noises that would be happening in the show, and to remind kids that there is a well meaning actor underneath the villain costume.
TRUNK! turned out to be a lot of fun, and if you and your little one are in the market for a magical, “wagical” adventure, try this one on for size!
- TRUNK! plays at the George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl.)
- Tickets for Kidsfest shows are $5 for kids (age 12 and younger); adults pay $13.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warning: Audience participation.
- The George Ignatieff Theatre is wheelchair-accessible, and has wide aisles for easy mid-show exits.
- Don’t miss the Kidsfest club located on the lawn adjacent to the venue! Free activities for children (3-12) and caregivers run every day of the festival: see website for details.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Thursday July 5th, 1:00 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 10:00 am
- Monday July 9th, 4:45 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 1:30 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 2:00 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 1:15 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 11:45 am
Photo of Kaeden Derksen and Haley Garnet by Haley Garnet.