Toronto Fringe Festival: "The Dentist"

Published: July 7th 2010
in Culture » Stage

Razia Israely

The Dentist doesn’t feel like a Fringe show. Razia Israely’s one-woman production about a middle-aged woman seeking reconciliation with her Holocaust-survivor father is more substantial, and more genuinely shocking, than the usual artsy Fringe fare.


It also features an intense, deeply felt performance by Israely that deserves to reach a wider audience. The Israeli actress, whose expressive, angular face is framed by a mass of russet curls, vividly recreates her character, Rosi, as a child suffering from her father’s abuse and at various stages throughout her life, as well as her little brother, father, and other characters she meets on her journey.


I found myself getting a little lost in the storyline, especially at the beginning, as Israely moves around in time from the present, where she is visiting her father’s grave, to her youth in Israel. The show also felt a little meandering in places, and I felt Israely could have trimmed episodes from Rosi’s childhood and still maintained the same level of tension as Rosi gradually unravels her father’s past. Still, you can’t take your eyes off Israely the entire length of the show, and her acting should be a lesson in how to deliver a riveting solo performance: each movement, gesture, and change in tone feels like a deliberate choice, and she completely eschews any sentimentality. The Dentist is unsettling, but it presents a valuable piece of history and reveals stories of the Holocaust that are not often told – especially the effects of the Holocaust on a good man, and what those ramifications are for future generations.




The Toronto Fringe Festival runs until July 11. For more information, visit

Related articles: (stage, toronto fringe festival, fringe theatre, the dentist, razia israely, holocaust)

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