Rob Ford and the Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist (The Blacklist Committee for Unsafe Theatre) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

It’s 2018. The G20 Summit has not gone well. A bomb has gone off, killing several people. One of the suspects is thrown out a window – and a lone maniac investigates. This is Rob Ford and The Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist, directed by Caroline Fournier and Matt Jones, and it just gets stranger from there. The show is playing at St. Vladimir’s Theatre for the duration of the Fringe.

The show has an interesting pre-show atmosphere, with police interrogations at the door and audio from the G20 summit playing in the background. However, this atmosphere leads you to believe that the play will be far more darkly humorous than it actually is.

I found the play to be a tad underwhelming. It involves a lot of mugging on behalf of the cast. I found that most of the performances were acceptable, if not particularly interesting. Kyle Allatt as Rob Ford was the most entertaining – I thought he had a solid impression of Toronto’s mayor.

A minor detail that I couldn’t help but focus on was that the characters kept referring to The Maniac as “he” instead of “she”. Gender-bending casting is fine, but there was absolutely no reason why “he” could not have been changed to “she” because she wasn’t playing a man.

It felt like they were trying to jam as many puns, topical references, random props and physical humour into the 60 minutes as they could. The moment you went to laugh at something – and there were many funny moments in this play – the actors moved on to the next thing, which I usually missed as they were speaking at the speed of light, prat-falling, and throwing props around all at once.

There were also a few lost opportunities for audience participation, I thought – they would hint at it, but they were going so fast that they didn’t give anyone a chance to jump in. I think what the play needed was a straight man, someone the audience could relate to in an isn’t-this-ridiculous kind of way.

Overall, I think Rob Ford and the Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist was decent, as it had plenty laughs, when you could pick something out of everything that was going on. However, I think that it could use a bit of reworking and a little breathing room in between gags.

Details:
Rob Ford and the Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist is playing at St. Vladimir’s Theatre (620 Spadina Avenue) until July 16, 2011
– Show dates are July 10 at 11pm, July 11 at 4:45pm, July 13 at 9:30pm, July 14 at 12pm, July 15 at 8pm and July 16 at 1:45pm.
– 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