Review: FRIGID NY Festival 2022: Show Biz is a Dog's Life in "And Toto Too"

And Toto Too

Written and performed by Megan Quick

Directed by Alyssa May Gold

Presented by Lizzy Ana Lincoln and Dani Turner at The Kraine Theater

85 East 4th Street, Manhattan, NYC

February 18-26, 2022

Photo credit: Arin Sang-urai
Anyone familiar with the film The Wizard of Oz (which, especially in comparison to other 80-plus year-old films, is a lot of people) knows exactly who Toto is. Fewer people probably know that Dorothy's canine companion was played by a female dog named Terry. As Terry, playwright and actor Megan Quick (dog) dishes on these and other topics in And Toto Too in funny, ultimately touching fashion. And Toto Too is currently playing as part of FRIGID New York's 16th annual festival, in which one hundred percent of the proceeds go to the artists. For a full schedule of shows, all of which can be experienced in person or via livestream, visit FRIGID New York's website.

A Hollywood veteran looking back over her career, Toto's Terry–conjured with little more than a tail, minimalist make-up, and Quick's first-rate performance–is a bit of a diva. She wastes little time after an introductory clip from her most famous film letting the audience know how lucky they are to be spending time with a bona fide star. As Terry dives into details and dons a pair of heels (ruby red, of course), she frames her story as one of a little dog from humble beginnings who made it big, drawing attention early on to parallels between Terry's story and the movie industry experiences of many human performers, including an explicit comparison at one point between Terry's relationship to her trainer and Judy Garland's to her mother. And Dorothy's own journey from Kansas to Oz provides yet another echo of both human and non-human actors' journeys. As part of Terry's confessional, she, like any good old-school Hollywood diva, performs a few musical numbers, accompanied by Camille Harris, introduced as a classic film feline.

But although such parallels certainly stand out, some of these points simultaneously stand on their own as commentary on the effects of the commodification of canine (and, by extension, other non-human) performers. While the show is foremost a comedy and Quick an excellent verbal and physical comedian, amidst the panoply of dog jokes, there are hints of melancholy, of the tragedy of lost possibilities, that creep in, culminating in a poignant ending that makes good on its bold performance choice. We can't say that you will gain any courage by seeing And Toto Too, but your brain and your heart will surely thank you.

-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards

More FRIGID 2022 reviews:
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