Review: The Simian Showcase (Monkeyman Productions)

The Simian Showcase is a night of fun geek culture theatre playing in Toronto

On the program for The Simian Showcase – playing six times over the next week, at Imperial PubMonkeyman, which is producing this line-up of four short plays and a musical act, bills itself as Toronto’s geekiest theatre company.

Is “geek” a genre?

The first work of the evening, titled “Gunpowder Arizona” by Nick Philpott, follows a dispute between two roommates, played by Matt McGrath and Timothy Nussey. The dispute is mostly over how original a character named “Gunpowder Arizona” is.

Sarah Bowden’s “Captain Incredible Versus The Girlfriend” came next.

Ms. Bowden’s work examines – what struck me as sweet, pleasantly unexpected and refreshing – repercussions of a mild-mannered guy revealing his super powers to his girlfriend.

“Shark Week” by Matthew Ivan Bennett follows Ms. Bowden’s work.

When the lights come up for “Shark Week,” we see two aging youth, played by Michael Atlin and Jeffrey Henderson, on a couch in front of a television.

One of them seems completely enthralled by the shark programming they’re watching. The other seems totally bored.

What transpires is – perhaps the inevitable – break-up of this tenuous friendship.

A work set at Comic Con, a vast and somewhat eccentric exhibit of comic book culture, titled “Two Of Everything” by D. J. Sylvis, tops off The Simian Showcase.

“Two Of Everything” is, like two of the three plays preceding it, a work about friends. And much like “Gunpowder Arizona” pivots around a love of comics.

A hilarious musical duo, Debs and Errol, punctuated the line-up of plays.

Debs and Errol do a mixture of original melodies, with references to Star Wars, Star Trek, The X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica, and covers (also with plenty of references to Star Wars, Star Trek, the X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica).

But for all these references, scenarios, and settings, what is the “geek” genre?

It’s rather conventional theatre about people obsessed, quite endearingly, with nostalgia and surreal characters that often save the innocent and fight evil. Oh, and sharks – an obsession with, not fighting with.

But even with sharks included, the geeks of these plays seem like the Romantic, sweetly innocent type, trying to balance the emotional demands of day-to-day life with their eccentric compulsions.

And in this sense, these are very relatable characters, even if you’ve never been to Comic Con or watched Shark Week.

I’d recommend checking out The Simian Showcase if you have a chance. It’s a fun night.



The Simian Showcase plays at Imperial Pub (54 Dundas Street East), and plays until April 21st 2012
– Showtimes are 8:00PM on April 13t, 14, 20 and 21; 2:00 on April 15, and 11:00PM on April 21
– Tickets are $10.00, and available at the door
– For more information, please see


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