Next Stage Theatre Festival

Piece by Piece falls short

Jonathan Zagrodnik

Staff Writer

The McGuffin Company brings Piece by Piece to this year’s Next Stage Theatre Festival, through the Toronto Fringe Festival. Written by Alison Lawrence and directed by David Ferry, Piece by Piece tells the story of 16-year-old Steffie, who can’t leave the hospital’s ICU after losing her mother. During her time there, she creates bonds with unlikely friends and they all help each other through a difficult time.

This story is full of potential to create a very deep piece, however at this point in its production, Piece by Piece fails to reach all this potential. This potential comes from stories of alcoholism, depression, miscarriages and Alzheimer’s, yet the show only reiterates knowledge of these afflictions and doesn’t give us any new experiences or knowledge.

That being said, the cast does a great job at bringing these characters to life. There were a few moments that felt rather wooden, staged and, dare I say, border-line cliché, but that was more in relation to what they were saying, not how they were saying it.  If this piece is given another year to work out some of the kinks and delve a little deeper, it could be a killer piece. 

Piece by Piece runs at the Next Stage Theatre Festival until Jan. 18. For more information, visit http://fringetoronto.com/next-stage-festival/.