Toronto Fringe Reviews – The Mom and Pop Shop, Nan loves Gerry, Phat Love and the Thin Girl

Write ups by Megan Mooney

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Fringe. Festival.  Sapped.  All.  Energy…

Must. Post. Something…


Write ups after the jump of the following shows:

– Adam Growe’s The Mom and Pop Shop
– Nan loves Gerry
– Phat Love and the Thin Girl


Adam Growe’s The Mom and Pop Shop

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this show, but whatever I expected, this wasn’t it. The show is essentially a one-hour stand-up comedy routine with some elements of a play, not the full-on one-man show I expected. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between the two, but there is a difference.

It’s not a surprise really, since Adam Growe is a veteran stand-up comic.  And, I will say, that it may not have been the play I was expecting, but it was good stand-up!  This is Rowe’s first foray into solo theatrical production, and although I did say it was more stand-up than play, I will say that if it’s something he wants to keep moving towards, he’ll get there.  There’s a lot of potential in his performance, I think he just needs more practice stepping away from the role of stand-up comic that he’s so used to.

Oh, and don’t worry, you don’t have to have had kids to appreciate this (as evidenced by me), but I bet you appreciate it on a whole different level if you do have them.  Kids or no kids, if you’re looking for some good laughs, check this one out.  Oh, and just so that you can gauge how busy it might be, tonight’s show was sold-out, which I think is pretty rare for a show on the first night of Fringe.

Adam Growe’s The Mom and Pop Shop plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace July 5, 7, 10, 12, 13.


nan loves jerry Nan loves Gerry

So, one of the things that keeps Fringe-goers on their toes is, nothing is written in stone here.  Take for example the fact that, for the duration of the festival, ‘Offensive to Some’ has been replaced with ‘Nan loves Gerry’ (still presented by Newfoundlandartistx). 

It’s an interesting switch since ‘Offensive to Some’ was billed as something to ‘tackle domestic violence’, and ‘Nan loves Gerry’ was, well, it wasn’t billed as anything, but it certainly wasn’t about domestic violence.  In fact, the show is hard to describe.  It’s funny, but it more than that.  It has a bit of heart-breaking thrown in the mix.

It’s possible that it’s one of those shows that ‘local’ audiences get more from than external audiences (in this case ‘local’ would be Newfoundland).  I say this because there was a Newfoundlander behind me (judging from her accent) and there were times when I could hear her guffaw at moments that I didn’t understand.  Don’t let that deter you though, I may not have gotten every nuance, but I did enjoy it and think it was funny.  In fact, this would have been a really great show if it were about 30 minutes long.  An hour felt a bit too long, I wasn’t really learning anything new about the characters and it started to feel a bit gimmicky.   Even though it felt a bit long, I absolutely think it’s worth seeing.

Nan loves Jerry is playing in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace July 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13.


Phat Love and the Thin Girl phat love

Phat Love and the Thin Girl is a funny and dynamic one-woman show.  There is nothing controversial here, it’s a solid accessible show that you could happily go to with a parent, a grandparent, your teenage sibling, well, you get the idea.  Personally, sometimes I really love a good non-controversial show that makes me laugh and doesn’t make me do mental gymnastics.  Sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.

When the piece began, it felt a bit flat, and I will admit that I was a bit worried that I was going to hate it, but luckily it didn’t take Tara Duffy long to find her stride.  She drew the audience in and delivered the piece with passion.  Enough passion that I couldn’t help but fall a tiny bit in love with the character.

The show fluctuates between reenactments of the character’s experiences with speed dating, and storytelling.  It’s a nice mix and keeps things moving.

Phat Love and the Thin Girl is playing in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace July 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13.