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Here is Where Music and Comedy Lives at the 2023 Toronto Fringe Festival 

Our picks of the festival, July 5 to 16.

by Stephan Boissonneault 

As it quickly starts to feel like summer in Toronto, like clockwork, the city’s Fringe Festival prepares to lift the curtain — offering attendees 12 days of unadulterated fun and creativity. You could call the Toronto Fringe Festival a portal; a portal into the wild and inventive side of dancers, storytellers, actors, comedians, and much more. 

No matter your artistic preference, Toronto Fringe has you covered. Looking for a hip-hop adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar? Look no further than Caezus. Want a philosophical and cosmic adventure? The Parliament of Poets will take you there. Up for a strong narrative about romance, motorcycles, and Vietnam in the 60s? Enter Sadec 1965: A Love Story.

Although we do recommend checking out a few random shows to surprise yourself, it can be a little daunting tackling the Fringe without a plan. RANGE has created a suggested itinerary for you, highlighting some of our top picks with a few statements from the creators at this year’s Toronto Fringe. 


RETROGRADE: The Concert Experience 

RETROGRADE might be the most Torontonian adventure at this year’s Fringe. Director/writer Jackson Donner calls the performance a love letter to the Toronto music scene, a “service to celebrate our collective need for expression and each other.” Following four of Kensington Market’s “weirdest young musicians,” in a real life run-down venue during the pandemic re-openings, this immersive stage play will feel like a rock concert and quirky satire at the same time. “The play happens over the course of three weeks, and tells the story of four band members struggling with themselves and the world around them during their soundcheck, musical break and load-out,” Donner tells RANGE. “Between each of these sections, there’s a song (about nine in total) meant to convey the feeling that the actor is making that music up on the fly.”


An Incomplete List of All of the Things I’m Going to Miss When The World is No Longer

It’s the end of the world as we know it and an ensemble of more than 20 queers are throwing the ultimate synth-pop rager to feel fine. Taking place in a future where queerness is the norm and people are able to relive past memories, Dante Green’s An Incomplete List… bends space and time to inspire audiences to feel the extremes of human existence. Associate director and dramaturge, Ally Chozik, says “The music is rooted in conventions of musical theatre but has a genre-defying sound, with groundbreaking Dora Award-Winning neo-absurdist choreography which has never been seen in a musical theatre context.” 

Factory Theatre | 125 Bathurst St | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS


Voice: Song and Scream

Part performance, part workshop, singer Chloe Lukia Pilar Matamoros Voice: Song and Scream show is an operatic/musical theatre/folk song journey from a whisper to a thundering scream. Anyone who is still finding their voice — mentally and literally — this performance is for you. 

Al Green Theatre | 750 Spadina Avenue | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS


The Exorcist: An Operetta

It doesn’t get more Fringey than a tongue-in-cheek variation of a 1970s horror classic. The Exorcist: An Operetta is a solo musical comedy performed with narration, dialogue, and song. What you could call a tuneful jaunt through this dazzling portal to hell, we’re gonna go on a limb and say this is probably one to not bring the kids to. Get a babysitter and come be possessed by laughter from start to finish.

Canadian Music Centre | 20 St Joseph St. | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS


Danielle Tea’s Infernal Latte 

It’s Britney bitch, or at least it will be during Danielle Tea’s Infernal Latte, going under the description of “a bastardization and descreation of Dante’s Inferno,” this romp reimagines Virgil’s classic tale—but instead of Dante we have Danielle Tea and instead of Virgil leading the character through the nine circles of hell … it’s Britney Spears. Of course they encounter a slew of historical characters and weird companions. Oops … The Intergalactic Federation of Space Beers company has done it again. 

Tarragon Theatre | 30 Bridgman Ave. | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS


Emo Majok: African Aussie

Sudanese comedian Emo Majok has lived a life. Bouncing between East African refugee camps and stages around the world, he has a tomes worth of touching and hilarious stories. His show, African Aussie, has been receiving rave reviews, and since Emo’s debut at Edinburgh Fringe, he has been quickly rising in the ranks of the theatre and comedy world.

Tarragon Theatre | 30 Bridgman Ave. | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS



This contemporary dance piece follows the stories of four individual characters as they become one collective. Their true natures begin to unravel, symbolized by the dance choreography of creator Marina Robinson, who is inspired by martial arts, breakdance, house, and swing. With a soundtrack by Luke Gruntz, one half of Canadian indie rock duo, Celopatrick, this performance is all about peeling back the layers of the human condition. 

Alumnae Theatre | 70 Berkeley St. | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS


Things We Lost in The Fire

A group of residents in a historical building are brought in during an investigation to discuss their involvement in a building fire. The audience will hear from an ensemble cast, as each has their own version, but will soon realize there is something more sinister afoot. Someone started that fire, but someone did something much more horrible. It’s vague, we know. But what could be more horrible than collective arson? You’ll soon find out.

Alumnae Theatre | 70 Berkeley St. | SHOWTIMES + TICKETS


For full listings and showtimes visit fringetoronto.com