Fringe Review: Pen Pals – Atomic Johnson Productions

By Crystal Wood

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There’s a line in Pen Pals where one of the main characters tells the story of going to see a play that made time slow down to what he referred to as “church time.”

Pen Pals felt a little like church time to me.

I wanted to love this play; I really did. This story, about two screenwriting partners desperate to come up with a few brilliant ideas before a big pitch meeting hits pretty close to home, what with the stack of unsold writing piling up on my own desk. But the play never stopped being a series of one-liners (funny one-liners, granted) long enough for me to actually relate to the characters.

What the play does do is come up with a number of pop-culture references that show an obvious love of movies by the writers, and a string of quippy comebacks which would probably work really well in stand-up or sketch, but which in a narrative play falls just short of believable.

Holm Bradwell and Andrew Patterson give earnest, high-energy performances, but I personally preferred Patterson, who plays the more slovenly, Cheeto-loving of the two roommates.

In short, Pen Pals provides a few chuckles, but I’m still on the search for my own “best of the fest.”

Details:

Written and performed by Holm Bradwell and Andrew Patterson.

Venue 2, Robert Gill Theatre

Showtimes:
Tues, July 7 8:45 PM
Wed, July 8 5:45 PM
Thu, July 9 3:30 PM
Fri, July 10 1:45 PM
Sun, July 12 7:30 PM

 – All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only), or with interac and credit at the advance ticket box office at the Fringe Club (292 Brunswick Ave)

Advance tickets are available by phone (416-966-1062) or at www.fringetoronto.com, there is a $2 service charge for these

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

Photo of Andrew Patterson and Holm Bradwell

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