Stage Door Review 2019

Above & Beyond

Jul 8, 2019

✭✭

by Jaclyn Toledano, directed by Rebecca Ballarin

JackieTol Productions, Toronto Fringe Festival, Robert Gill Theatre, Toronto

July 4-13, 2019

Jaclyn Toledano’s Above & Beyond is a comedy about office politics without dramatic conflict or tension.

Anyone who expects the kind of mordant humour of a television series like The Office will be disappointed. The show simply presents a series of realistic, occasionally amusing sketches about young people attempting to perform their uninteresting jobs.

The focus is on an educational travel company and the friendship of Nicole (Natasha Ramondino) and Jamie (Tatyana Mitchell), two travel agents who used to work for the company’s arch-rival Oyster. While Jamie excels, Nicole flounders. Though we learn that Nicole was once a top seller at Oyster, Toledano never explains the cause of Nicole’s present difficulty. 

A potential source of conflict arises when Tracey (Andrea Irwin), the boss the workers like, is replaced by Andrea (also Irwin), a boss they hate. But the problem vanishes on its own when Andrea is transferred elsewhere. 

Toledano’s dialogue is true to life, but that doesn’t mean it's witty or biting, and director Rebecca Ballarindo does nothing to make the play’s pacing livelier. Yet it’s clear all six members of the cast are talented and at ease on stage. What they need is a meatier play with more complex characters and dialogue to better show off their skills.

Runtime: 60 minutes 

Christopher Hoile

Note: This review appeared in NOW Magazine on July 8, 2019.

Photo: Felix Beauchamp, Tatyana Mitchell, Rabiya Mansoor, Andrea Irwin, Natasha Ramondino and Francis Masaba. © 2019 Angela Sun.

For tickets, visit fringetoronto.com.