Toronto Fringe: Beautiful slow dance of intimacy & memory in Ninety

William MacDonald & Nicole Fairbairn in Ninety - photo by Dahlia Katz
William MacDonald & Nicole Fairbairn in Ninety – photo by Dahlia Katz

Saw another lovely two-hander at Toronto Fringe yesterday: Naked Goddess Productions’ Canadian premiere of Ninety, written by Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by Mercy Cherian – running at the Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM) Mainspace.

Isabel (Nicole Fairbairn, also the show’s producer) and William (William MacDonald) meet for 90 minutes in Isabel’s flat before William leaves to get remarried. Former lovers, now divorced, they meet to say the things previously left unsaid – and as they do, we witness them relive key moments in their lives together through shared memories, happiness and tragedy. It is erotic, funny and heartbreaking to watch them run out the clock in the final moments together.

Tender and passionate performances from Fairbairn and MacDonald. Fairbairn’s Isabel is crazy vivacious, sexy and creative – and extrovert who lives life at full speed ahead and loves to tease, playfully torment, even. Working at restoring a painting, she has a patient appreciation for the painstaking process, noting the evolution of the image as the couple on the canvas becomes clarified and more vivid. Rather like the unfolding of this meeting with William. MacDonald’s William is a cocky, charming extroverted introvert, an actor and former drama teacher who’s hit the big time on the small screen. Compelling chemistry between these two actors as they play out the love, loss and reunion of these characters struggling for closure and forgiveness.

With shouts to Lisa Sciannella’s set and costume design.

Ninety is a beautiful slow dance of intimacy and memory, featuring lovely performances from Fairbairn and MacDonald.

Ninety has two more performances at the TPM Mainspace: July 9 at 7:30 p.m. and July 11 at 12:00 p.m.