What a delightful trip through contemporary Toronto and its financial woes through the eyes of an activist child! Tick, or Tickailia (Jessica Moss), is a 10-year-old girl appalled by City Council’s decision to close public libraries. Or as she learns via conference call with her mom’s city-councillor-boyfriend Murray, “reinventing them as reading stations.”
This show is exactly what it promises to be. Tick’s primary beef is the war on children, waged by adults, always telling them what to do, where to be, and how to behave. She gathers together her three friends Chelsea (Nathan Barrett), Dawn (Jenna Harris) and Rudeger (Tony Ofori) to join forces and stop the library closures. After all, they’re going to take the books away! Moss does a wonderful job on channeling her inner child, a role which could be exhausting, but she does it with aplomb. Barrett, Harris and Ofori get special mention for portraying three characters each. For the most part, they are distinct, though I did find Barrett’s characters bore a lot of similarity to each other. The play is a loud one, with lots of loud dialogue, but they are children after all.
The story is highly topical, well written, and frankly hilarious. I was reminded at times of the Honest Toddler blog and twitter feed, with its views of the world seen through the eyes of a toddler. The script (Matthew MacKenzie) is strong, but it is where my principal criticism lies. It’s quite long given the nature of the material, and tries to cover a lot of ground, leading to some moments reminiscent of after-school specials on TV (“Your dad didn’t leave because of you, Tick.”). I felt that those moments could have been excluded without harming the script.
The crowd loved this show, and so did I. It was charming, with a lot of humour and physicality. The cast is well-rehearsed, the script effective, and the direction imaginative. This is a close-knit cast and crew, and it shows in all the best ways. If you can, be sure to check out TICK… you’ll have a great time.