From the Fringe: ‘Reckless Daughters’

Fringe review: ‘Reckless Daughters,’ Destination Ink Productions, Toronto, Canada

By Elizabeth Maupin

As a child of the ‘60s, it’s hard to watch much younger women play my heroines from way back when. The women of Reckless Daughters don’t especially look or sound like the women they’re playing – singer/songwriters Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King. And they get so much of it wrong.

Not that the people involved with Reckless Daughters don’t know a fair amount about the personal lives of Mitchell, King and Simon. But calling them “the most iconic artists of the feminist movement” is just plain ridiculous. (Even if you were only talking about musical artists, whatever happened to Joan Baez?) Reducing their interactions to a three-way struggle over James Taylor is insulting. And lumping the three very different women together in the first place is just weird.

Granted, a 2008 bestseller called Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation did the same thing, and I assume that Brianna Brown, Erin Fleck and Laura Anne Harris, who developed and perform this show, must have read that book.

But the three musicians really had very little in common, and these three actors shed no new light on the subject. Instead, they sing a little, they play guitar badly and – as actresses playing the musicians in a show-within-a-show – they bicker over their private lives and over who will sing what. That part of Reckless Daughters is off-putting, and reducing these so-called feminist icons to what celebrities they slept with is even more so. If this is feminism in the 21st-century, heaven help us all.

Remaining performances: 7:25 p.m. Wednesday 5/26, 8:30 p.m. Thursday 5/27, 5:@5 p.m. Saturday 5/29, 3:15 p.m. Sunday 5/30. Blue venue.

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