Dandelion (James & Jamesy) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Aaron Malkin in DandelionDandelion, the newest production by Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles, the duo behind James & Jamesy, is playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

The show features Malkin on stage, as he unravels his experience of fatherhood thus far and revels in the imagination and curiosity of his growing son. Malkin is sharply dressed as a dandelion, and bookends the production with a story about dandelion hunting.

The show doesn’t start with a bang, but rather Malkin approaches the audience with ease, and readily engages with the room. As it unfolds, the show feels like an episode of show and tell. Malkin shares anecdotes about his son, equipped with photographs and videos, and reads aloud to the room from a book of his son’s words.

He test drives new dad jokes, and oozes a genuine love and affection for his son. The heart of the show comes through in his reflections on his relationship with his own father, and the type of father he wants to be.

Malkin is heartfelt on stage, and comes alive in the final scene, the most animated and theatrical moment of the show. Going fully into character as a daddy-lion (dandelion), Malkin ends the show on it’s highest note, and leaves me wishing he explored the wise and wacky character of daddy-lion more.

Malkin shared that this was his first time performing the show, and indeed, parts of the show feel as though they’re still under development. Fortunately, Malkin comes through as a great performer, with a penchant for storytelling and making wild sound effects. With some tightening of the narrative and pacing, this dandelion will bloom.


  • Dandelion plays at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. We recommend checking in with the venue box office at least 15 minutes before showtime.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.


  • Friday July 5th, 6:00 pm
  • Sunday July 7th, 9:45 pm
  • Monday July 8th, 7:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 10th, 1:00 pm
  • Thursday July 11th, 6:45 pm
  • Friday July 12th, 10:15 pm
  • Saturday July 13th, 6:15 pm

Photo of Aaron Malkin by Chelsey Stuyt