*Trigger Warnings for This Show* - Sexual assault, violence against women, slut-shaming
Although Box of Freedom claims to be a comedy-centered production, the show itself proved to be anything but. Dealing with serious and triggering content, Box of Freedom seemed to brush off its own graphic portrayal of sexual assault and violence as a way to build intensity in the plot. The true depth and seriousness of this show's content was not demonstrated by the cast, who, through forced tears seemed unable to sink in to the emotion that they were so energetically attempting to portray. The narrative itself, which appeared to switch back and forth between timelines, lacked clarity and cohesion and was more perplexing than it was entertaining.
Box of Freedom is a bold attempt at navigating the complexities of a refugee crisis, violence towards women, sexual assault, along with a number of other intense and harrowing subjects. The potential of this production is undeniable, and it is a brave pursuit to engage these ideas on stage. Unfortunately, once the Box of Freedom has been unpacked, its contents inevitably fall short.
Box of Freedom is playing at Studio 1398 September 6 - 16 as part of the 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival.
~ reviewed by Madisen Steele
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