Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Winston Soon

Baseball is the quintessential Father and Son sport. Last night I caught “Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy”, a show that explores relationships between father and sons.

The more offbeat plays make for the best late night viewing, in my opinion, and this was a perfect 11:00 pm play – it begins with a child star throwing a first pitch and then murdering a seeing eye dog, punching disabled children and then making out with said dog.

Somehow, when all is said and done, it seems to make perfect sense. Connor Thompson and Devon Hyland are an expert pair – riffing off of each other in a fluid stream of believable characters in ridiculous circumstances.

They play each so real that in the end, we truly believe that “The Turtle Boy”’s father truly believes that grafting a turtle shell onto his son’s back is an act of protective love and that child star Dale Beaner was desperately trying to revive the seeing eye dog that attacked him on a baseball field.

At one point – the baseball announcers are cats. Somehow this makes just as much sense as the father that lazily orders spicy mayonnaise on his sushi. The show is what the Fringe was made for – two charmingly boyish men, two chairs, a lot of play and solid commitment to scenework.

Hyland truly shines as the off-kilter baseball announcer who has phobia of inflated balloons as well as playing child star Dale Beaner and the over protective bumpkin of a father to “The Turtle Boy”.

Thompson is amazing as The Turtle Boy and also expertly plays the less than protective father of Dale Beaner, taking his turn at announcing the ball game as well. There seems to be lots of room left to improvise with the script and it gives the show a seamless balance of foolishness and commitment that is perfectly held throughout the show.

Shows like this are why there is a Fringe – these two excellent performers make a whole lot of craziness seem like perfect, heartfelt sense. Well done.

Details

Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy plays at St. George’s Auditorium
– It plays on Saturday July 10 at 1:45 pm
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows