Mooney on Theatre Review | Written by Jennifer Enchin
Every year at the Toronto Fringe Festival, I like to try and cover at least one musical, because A: I’m a full-on musical theatre super nerd, and B: because they’re just awesome, ok?
Every Silver Lining was my musical of choice this year and man, did it ever deliver. It reminded me why (in my humble, musical theatre geekazoid opinion) musical theatre is the BEST form of entertainment out there.
This heartwarming new Canadian musical follows the journey of highschooler Clara (Allison Wither) as she deals with her brother’s (Daniel Karp) secret battle with leukemia. The subject matter is heavy, yet the show is anything but. I felt like I’d run the whole gamut of emotions by the end. One minute I’m shedding a heartfelt tear and the next I’m giggling at the kooky teen antics.
This leads me to the book (written by Laura Piccinin, who also plays Emily, Clara’s best friend in the show). I found the dialogue to be incredibly charming. It was both funny and sincere in all in the right places. Truly well crafted.
Every character had their “special moments,” though there were definitely a few standouts. Allison Wither as Clara has this lovely warmth about her that makes her performance very comforting to watch. You feel like you’ve known her for a long time. I also had a soft spot for the secondary characters in the show, Emily (Laura Piccinin) and Jeremy (Joel Cumber). They sing my favorite song in the show: “Noticing Me, Noticing You”, an awkward love-duet between two very awkward teens pecking around each other like flamingos in heat. It was grade-A comedy gold. I kept poking my friend every time these two would do something funny…which was quite often (sorry Matti!).
The music (written by Allison Wither and music directed by Aaron Eyre) is pretty, with glistening chimes and soft drumming as part of the orchestration. The music was in that classic contemporary (oxymoron, I know) musical theatre style. Think Next To Normal but with a teeny tiny dash of Disney. I mean TEENY tiny. The songs in general were fresh and landed on the ear nicely.
There were a couple songs where it felt like there was maybe too many or too little lyrics to fill the music. There was also one song that I hope gets changed: the opening number, which has the characters singing the words “another day,” which immediately made me think of the opening “Just Another Day” from Next to Normal. I guess since these two shows are similar in tone, it kind of made me scratch my head a bit…
Besides a few “off” moments in the music, I would say that Every Silver Lining is truly the Fringe musical of my dreams. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me skip home singing “Noticing Me, Noticing You” and not care that people might have been watching.
- Every Silver Lining plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina Ave.)
- 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.
- Content Warning: not recommended for children.
- This venue is barrier-free. Note that only certain building entrances are wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in front of the front row.
- 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.
- Thursday July 4th, 8:15 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 9:15 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 1:00 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 6:15 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 2:45 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 5:15 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 1:45 pm
Photo of Allison Wither, Laura Piccinin, Daniel Karp, Taha Arshad, Joel Cumber, Sara Stahmer, Dale Miller, Jada Rifkin, Ben Skipper, Alison J Palmer by Tara Arshad