Toronto Fringe Festival: Quarter Life Crisis - The Musical

Jennifer Turliuk sets the trials of young adulthood to music in angsty Toronto Fringe show

Presented by Koru Labs
Written by Jennifer Turliuk
Directed by Lee Cohen and Phil Skala

Jada Rifkin in Quarter Life Crisis - The Musical. Photo credit: Jacob Morr.

Being in your mid-twenties is comparable to riding a rollercoaster. Leaving the cocoon of university life and trying to navigate your first job, as well as new relationships, can be confusing and infuriating. This rollercoaster ride of emotion is the subject of Jennifer Turliuk's Quarter Life Crisis: The Musical, now playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Bursting with emotion, as well as a very busy storyline, the production successfully illustrates the difficulties of a woman in her mid-twenties but unfortunately fails to connect with the audience through its characters and plot. When the audience first meets Lenora (Jada Rifkin), she is a wide-eyed, enthusiastic university graduate ready to take on the world. However, her dreams are quickly dashed when she compares herself to her peers and realizes that she has no job lined up, and is moving back into her parents' house.

Lenora's parents, played by Elizabeth Rose Morris and James Cheng, encourage her to go back to her therapist from before university to chat about her depressed state, hoping it will motivate her to find a job. Lenora has a great relationship with her first therapist, played again by Elizabeth Rose Morris, but soon finds herself with a new, male therapist, played again by James Cheng. It is at this point that the production takes a turn for the worst, as it heads into dark territory, culminating a few scenes later in a scene between Lenora and her boyfriend Tony (Kierans Jordan) that leaves the audience cringing.

Highlights of Quarter Life Crisis include Rifkin's beautiful singing voice and talent as an actress, as well as a highly entertaining scene in which she goes for a job interview and is serenaded by four “corporate” clones who entice her to sell her soul and join the corporate world. Songs, such as “I've Moved Back Into My Parents' House" and "I'm in Love With My Therapist" are also particularly memorable.

However, the musical's dark twist in the middle of the story explores issues of sexual assault and suicide, then bounces back into a lively song and dance number almost immediately afterwards, where Lenora realizes that “Everyone is Messed Up." The result is a production that generally falls short of imparting any wisdom to its audience, leaving us uncomfortable and unsure of how we should feel about the main character and her relationships.

Quarter Life Crisis: The Musical is on stage until July 12 at the Al Green Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Wed, 2015-07-01 - Sun, 2015-07-12
Our rating:


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