2009

Toronto comedian and Fringe favourite, Chris Gibbs returns with a personal show about fatherhood, and all the fears and hopes that come with the job.

Gibbs’ son was born five days before the start of the 2007 Fringe, meaning Gibbs’ material is literally infantile in nature - no teenager jokes yet.

With only two years of material to work with, Gibbs opts to comment on foreseeable future problems rather than recounting cute stories that have already occurred. Gibbs’ style is part monologue, part standup, all extremely funny. Although his stage manner is stylistically bumbling, he is in fact remarkably sharp...

This is Chris Gibbs

This one woman show by Candy Simmons examines the dilemmas facing American women throughout that nation’s history. The show is divided up into three segments, each featuring a different character from a different time period.

The first segment, in which Simmons plays an Appalachian midwife determined to bear her own child regardless of the means or cost, is head and shoulders above the latter two. Her subtle, calculated turn as the kind and monstrously pragmatic midwife invites a favourable comparison between her and the memorable character of Nurse Annie Wilkes. The play as a whole is well crafted and worthwhile,...

Afterlife

The title of *How To Become a Diva* may drum up images of feather boas and histrionic tantrums, but Terri Catlin eschews these elements for a surprisingly honest one-woman autobiographical performance.

In fact, Terri appeared surprisingly professional and down to earth when she took the stage in a modest blazer, not at all the diva I had expected to arrive with a flourish.

Instead the title stems from a throwaway comment made by a close friend, a term which terrified Catlin and inspired her to look back upon the events of her life that shaped her into the so-called diva...

Easy steps to become a Diva.

The Williamson Playboys - the self-proclaimed oldest living father and son Cajun music duo (also known as comedians Doug Morency and Paul Bates) - delight with hilarious songs played on tuba and mandolin, and equally funny improvised banter between numbers assisted by MC Sandy Jobin-Bevans.

The Playboys deliver old-timey ditties about FDR and his lack of mobility, pleasant memories of the Hindenburg, and other folksy and demented material. Neither improv nor musical comedy are usually this good, and in the case of the *Brother Can You Spare Some Pants?* they work hand in hand to create a unique, impressive, and...

Maybe they're wearing pants, maybe they're not...

*Because I Can* features reliably funny Toronto regulars, Sandy Jobin-Bevans, Mike ‘Nug’ Nahrgang, Jim Annan, and Kate Hewlett in Allison McWood’s surreal, almost Monty Pythonesque, comedy about a manipulative podiatrist, his urban-phobic patient, an insecure male nurse, and a Romanian janitor wise beyond his position.

The script is both the strongest and weakest element of the production; although filled with clever wordplay, droll and matter of fact exclamations, and impressively fast paced back and forth exchanges, it also sets any sense of narrative arc or character development aside, putting the burden on the jokes and actors to do all the...

Because they can they will wrestle with a mop for your entertainment

In the Moment Theatre is back at it, following up their 2005 Fringe show _Shadow Court_ with further unabashed geekery in *Out of Character*. Delving into the mysterious and bizarre world of LARPing (Live Action Roleplaying, for the non-geeks), the play foregoes easy humour at the expense of these social outcasts and delivers a surprisingly poignant love story.

Utilizing the prevailing themes of storytelling and reality inherent in such a topic, the narrative is creatively layered and touches on how we all shape the world around us in the creating – and retelling of – our own stories.

A powerful...

The World According to LARP

I’m a sucker for a bit of fast-talkin’, jazz-handin’ vaudville, and this was exactly what was promised on the flyer for *The Parker and Seville Show*. Trying in earnest to emulate classical greats like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello, Dave Barclay and Matt Kowall inserted their own brand of absurdity and vulgarity into an ancient formula.

The humour was off-colour at best, but a lot of otherwise suspect jokes were saved from falling flat by the grace of their breakneck energy alone. Tim Gilbert evened things out nicely as the duo’s humpbacked, crotchety manager Mr. McGudgeon, narrating their...

Parker and Seville: there's no business like show business

After a mysterious fire burns down St. Agatha’s church, its new pastor and hard-core parishioners attempt to raise 4 million dollars of reconstruction money by throwing an old fashioned church-basement Bingo evening.

With cast members interspersed amongst the audience, the Bingo games (in which the audience do actually participate and win novelty prizes) are frequently interrupted by the naively sadistic Reverend Philip, the curmudgeonly coot Harvey, the chemically imbalanced Sunday school teacher Beth, and the doting Dot Winters.

A through-line about the cause of the catastrophic fire is contrived and awkwardly injected into the proceedings, but the more improvisational...

Bingo!

Actor and musical performer Jeff Jones bares his soul in this sometimes funny, often abstract, almost schizophrenic monologue about loss, regret, and the beauty of collective thought.

Although not Toronto’s best singer, Jones’ songs have a soulful folksiness reminiscent of John Mellencamp that play well into his themes. The highlight of the show is Jones’ explanation of the value of expression through music - worded in such a way that it elicits “ah-ha” moments from musical and layman minds alike.

Less of a narrative and more of an auto-dissection, *This is the Thing* could have used more personal parables,...

Jeff Jones

Following up last year’s hour long standup show _It's Sara Hennessey Time_, comic Sara Hennessey returns with a more theatrical offering with character pieces, prop comedy, a miniature cutout town, and video interludes.

Although Hennessey’s trademark rapid fire banter is lacking from her first two scenes, her infectious energy is enough to make up for it. Those who expect the laughs to come a mile a minute from the comedienne may be disappointed, but there is a thoughtfulness to the piece that is often not present in pure standup.

_Sarah Hennessey's Town continues until July 12th as part of the...

Sarah Hennessey from Sarah Hennessey Town.

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