The beautiful simplicity of the storyline provokes reflection on the nature of our everyday interactions, the way we communicate and how isolating our world can be, despite the near-constant buzz of noises that surrounds us. The occasions when the sounds of various electronic devices and human voices built up to a nonsensical cacophony brought us right into Vernus’ world, and allowed us to understand that what should be simple has been complicated by what we think of as technology and innovation. The result is that we rejoice at the end when he finds an ingenious way around the obstacles on his path.
Review by Mark Dance
60 mins | Comedy, Solo Show | Mature
From a kilted private school nerd with saliva-control issues to a grumbling geezer on his deathbed, the world of Fishbowl is populated by absurd and gut-busting personalities. Mark Shyzer takes on four distinct characters and, although they momentarily feel like a gang of shallow sketch characters, he [...]
Motley hails from Melbourne, Australia; for one reason or another, Australians tend to do really well at the Ottawa Fringe. It seems to be because they’re especially friendly and they tour great shows. Good thing, too: we make it worth their while to travel halfway around the world to present a one-hour show, and it’s certainly worth our while to be able to see them. Dirk Darrow is no exception to this rule. It’s pretty much a guaranteed good time.
One of the most surprising elements of It Is What It Is was the ability of the actors to project an understanding of the depth and complexity of their subject matter, which was occasionally quite dark. I found some of the monologues to be impressive in their frankness and insight compared to those I’ve seen by elder, (presumably) more experienced performers. Some of the later drama was a little heavy-handed and cheesy, but not overwhelmingly so. As well, there were at least a few good one-liners.
According to his website, Tony Molesworth has been doing comedy, including standup comedy, for over 25 years. He’s certainly got a lot of material, and delivers it at a good clip. He plays the banjo, composes little ditties, juggles, and has a CV full of recognizable gigs such as The Magic Castle, Disney World, The Sands and Caesar’s in Atlantic City.
To put it simply, Fallen is fantastically fun. Told as an allegory of the fall of Lucifer, the play takes on the form of a mafia film noir, with a twist. With a large cast, lots of props and fantastic outfits, this production is certain to keep the audience entertained. It is unashamedly over the top, and while it could use a little bit of polishing in some areas, the overall result is a fantastic mix of comedy and song. Yes, there are two musical numbers in this play and they’re a blast. If you have an affinity for Seal or Coolio, it’s worth checking out this show.
I was a little worried when the show opened with circus music, a man with a clown nose and a fat suit, and a strange sequence of umbrellas appearing from his pant legs. However, there were some shining moments in this oddball play about a magician who wants to shed some pounds and find his perfect lady.
So, if you go into this show expecting a theatre performance, you may end up kind of disappointed. As a storyteller, though, Murphy is excellent. And when Kuwaiti Moonshine is viewed as a told story, it is moving, inspiring, and often brilliant. This show is essentially a short story, told and acted by one individual, writer Tim C. Murphy. It contains elements taken from theatre, standup comedy, and (oddly- enough) self-help books, but it is, at its core, a literary/spoken word experience. Which is excellent, really, because the writing is fantastic.
McCullagh states from the outset that this is not a show that has a beginning, middle and end. Instead, it is a series of gags linked together by the momentum that McCullagh himself provides. Yet as an audience member it is difficult not to expect some kind of resolution, some denouement to the show. This is likely the reason that McCullagh included the game show aspect, which pits the performer against the audience and assigns fairly arbitrary points according to how “smart” they are. And this is really the best part of the show. It encourages audience participation beautifully and creates a truly interesting dynamic. Sadly, though, it receives the least attention out of all the parts, and in the end is shown to matter fairly little.
Don’t Make Me Zealous is an irreverent comedy that turns religious critique on its head. When the agnostic, Tom (Brennan Richardson) proposes marriage to his non-practicing Catholic girlfriend, Jackie (Emily Bradley) he had not realized that she would feel obliged to have their wedding in a church. When Jackie forces Tom to give in and meet the priest (David Rowan), how could she have known he would actually find God, and could anyone expect him to find the God he did?