Fringe Picks: Part 2

8 Jul

Here are some more treats courtesy of Toronto Fringe Festival participants:

We are the Bomb Playwright Kat Sandler and her company, Theatre Brouhaha – who took the festival by storm last year with Help Yourself – are back with another outstanding entry. This site specific piece, set in the Paddock Bar at Queen and Bathurst, takes place in the hours before a modern-day prohibition is set to take effect in Canada. A small ensemble of revolutionary vigilantes and a handful of assorted strangers band together to fight the new law, but ill-conceived plans and heightened emotions quickly push the motley group into Lord-of-the-Flies-esque territory. Sandler can be given much of the credit for the piece, but it is apparent than the entire, and utterly wonderful, ensemble of Brouhaha regulars (and a couple of fresh faces), have put their personal stamp on the often hilarious and occasionally intense material. There isn’t a weak link among the bunch, but Benjamin Blais and Elliot Loran steal the show with their perfect yin-yang chemistry as the bl0whard and often clueless rebel leader and his nebbish and practical assistant.

Peter n’ Chris Explore their Bodies Peter n’ Chris can join Morro and Jasp on the wall of “Perennial Fringe Comedy Superstars”; this sketch-based dynamic duo wow once again with an imaginative take on the Hunger Games – set inside Chris’ body. It’s slightly darker and edgier fare than some of their previous work, but no less hysterical. Their synchronicity is spot on, their frequent fourth wall-breaking never feels tired, and their ability to evoke settings and objects with virtually no production elements is testament to their talent as true theatre artists. If you have never seen them before, just do it.

Polly Polly Toronto indie theatre darling Jessica Moss uses her trademark bluster and bravado to great effect in this tender piece about Polly, an aimless 20-something cinema denizen who wakes up one morning to find that her entire life is now narrated by a presence in her head. The narration prompts her to pursue her “true self” – the woman she thought she would be, or should be. It’s a simple narrative – and in the hands of a lesser artist the premise might even seem cliche – but Moss is a powerhouse performer able to charm and move the audience effortlessly. Highlights of the work include sketch-like asides, including one of Polly attempting to find her “true self” through Yoga – a hilarious scene that says out loud what I’m sure many people have always been thinking on the inside.

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