Toronto Fringe 2017: Lipstique and Wild/Walled

Creators:  Emily Law, Ashley Perez
Cast:  Jelani Ade Lam, Kristine Flores, Jasmyn Fyffe, Sze-Yang Lam Ade, Sarah Tumaliuan
Toronto Fringe 2017
Randolph  Theatre
Reviewed by Ted Fox
In Lipstique dancers from different cultural backgrounds rise up, question and break through the stereotype branding put on women in today's multicultural society.. 
It begins with Jasmyne Fyffe poising like a Vogue fashion model, wearing a silver sequined dress and ever so slowly turning like on a pedestal. Her movements stop, back facing the other dancers who walk toward her. They are dressed like everyday pedestrians, handbags dangling from their shoulders. She walks as one of them but so not.
Flip to the dancers sitting down putting on the makeup, the wigs, the clothing that will transform them into the ideal image of a women. When the music clicks in they rise up and dance their individual body languages coming out despite the facade.
The dance vocabularies consist of whacking, hip hop, house, voguing and a touch of martial arts to name a few. There is a disco feel to it with tracks from artists like Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer and Grace Jones, artists who have played a role in shaping women's herstories. I sense that the music choices inhabit and strengthen the dancers' expressive movements.
One segment hit home for me personally. In it there are references to the expression of gender within the body and allowing the masculine to come out. This triggered a scene from my past. Years ago I was walking down a street when two men approached me and told me to "walk like a man". Also when I was a child I took tap lessons and was quite good however nuns and bullying classmates forced me to quit. But that was then and this is now. I wish. It still happens to me today every now and then.
So for me Lipstique with its terrific high-octane choreography and spontaneity of movement was an emotional experience.
Producers: Alison Daley, Half Second Echo & Tracey  Norman 
Choreographers:  Alison Daley, Miles Gosse, Tracey Norman
Cast:  Justine Comfort, Sarah Dowhun, Miles Gosse, Nikolas Markakis, Denise Solleza
Toronto Fringe 2017
Al Green Theatre
Wild/Walled consists of three pieces by choreographers Tracey Norman, Miles Gosse and Alison Daley. These are linked together in exploring the theme of releasing the barriers that wall in and self-censor the natural instincts within our bodies
Norman's work comes first. Dancers clasp each other's hands which encircle an outsider and rope her in, imprisoning her.They build their walls with blocks. Then tear them down. Their body language with its constant hold and release patterns reflects their putting up barriers and then tearing them down and letting their natural humanity emerge. 
In Gosse's piece they line up side by side, create a wall with a large plastic sheet. Letting in no one in or out. An outsider comforts herself by clutching a balled-up plastic sheet. 
These choreographers are so attuned to each other's individual choreographic approaches that both weave together seamlessly. 
There is a slight break until choreographer Alison Daly shifts focus to a hospital lab where the dancers become like rats or hamsters in a research experiment. A researcher watches, collating their research patterns on a scale of 1-10. Stephanie Fromentin reacts going into seizure mode as if triggered by an electric current.

Wild /Walled is quite emotional and beautifully performed. A production that reflects how our society is affecting our mental and physical behaviour