I Wish ‘Gone’ Would Never Go

Shrimp cocktail.
Top 40 hits of the 1990’s.
The shady dealings of the 1%.
An unhinged rendition of I am The Greatest Star.

All of these elements and more can be found in Gone, presented by Toronto-based writer and performer Amber Mackereth. A romp in the anxieties of the global citizen, this work is unlike anything else playing at the Kingston Fringe.

Gone follows the non-linear story of a woman stuck in the constant loop of (unknowingly) doing the bidding of the 1% while trying to be a better person. Gone explores the dichotomy of the self, of who we want to be versus who we are. It asks, “Would you do the same, if put in this situation?” and it challenges one’s expectations of what you’re willing to believe.

If you are looking for a more in-depth description of the show, you are not going to find one that lays out what to expect of Gone in this review. It’s this critic’s opinion that one must see this work with as much (or in this case, as little) information about it as the artist intended. This viewing experience is best done in the dark, so that the work can be uninfluenced by expectations set upon the themes at play. Trust me, you do not want this spoiled for you.

A psychological thriller comedy, Mackereth stretches her creative muscles on this work acting as solo performer, sound designer, and creator of this work. The show itself melds 90’s music, mime, and spectacular lighting and sound design to create a larger than life story that addresses our intimate fears about the global elite. The bare stage felt full thanks to Mackereth’s performance. Mackereth’s use of space and her ability to engage an audience had my companion say, “The moment she stepped onto stage, I didn’t want to look away.”

Special mention to the lighting design. The stage lights were brought into their spotlight (so to speak) and were used to communicate directly with the audience. Making rooms, indicating the passage of time, interacting with Mackereth as the performer, Deborah Frankel’s design used the tech to its full extent.

In speaking with Mackereth after the show, I was shocked to find out this was the result of only two months of rehearsals between Mackereth and her collaborator Deborah Frankel. They were consistently pleased with how the staging of the show had gone, but were eager to reach more audiences.

The quality this creative duo brought to Fringe is proof that just because a show appears to be “easy” to put on, it is the intersections of performance, writing, directing, and design that what makes a good show. Not money or crazy high production value, but content and artistry. Both of which are on display here in spades.

Amber Mackereth’s Gone ran from August 5-14 at the Theatre Kingston Fringe, produced in part by The Kick & Push Festival. Click here for more information.