When Harry Met Harry is a one-man show that opened tonight to a large audience and a ton of Fringe buzz. Harry is a very tall Australian man who is obsessed with the particularities of his mundane printing job. The evening takes us on a journey through Harry’s re-discovery of his identity, an identity not defined by his occupation.
The protagonist is neurotic and paranoid that his subordinate, Bradley, might be after his more senior job. Attending a group workshop with an upbeat and undaunted interpersonal skills coach, Harry tries to survive the session without upsetting his boss, Mr. Herbert.
Allan Girod, who plays Harry as well as the ‘personal development’ coach, creates some fantastic physical comedy with his face and body – he reminds me of a more sophisticated Mr. Bean. He makes high-strung Harry very likeable and endearing. During the show, I wished I could have rewinded many of the jokes because they were so funny – I just wanted to see them and laugh all over again. I have not laughed this hard in a very long time.
Girod switches between two contrasting characters very easily, and with skill. He doesn’t overdo character changes to the point where it appears that he is having a back-and-forth with himself, but enough that the audience knows how Harry is coping throughout the workshop. The sound effects also help round out the characters’ personalities.
The audience is used as a very effective “prop” in the show. We are, essentially, his group workshop. There’s nothing embarrassing to be take part in or anything like that. One of the audience members in the front row refused to have an extremely minor, non-embarrassing role in the play – that guy disappointed me because I believe an audience should be willing to engage with actors who are using up all their energy for our own entertainment. Harry took this rejection in great stride, however, and got even more laughs out of the audience because of it.
When Harry Met Harry left me with a feeling of overwhelming happiness. Belly laughs abound, stifling giggles – I don’t think anyone left the theatre without a smile on their face. It is excruciatingly funny, observantly clever, and smack-your-bottom fun.
Director: Igor Sas
Cast: Allan Girod
Genre: Comedy, Physical Theatre
Venue: Tarragon Theatre Extra Space, 30 Bridgman Avenue
Thu, July 7 9:15 PM
Sun, July 10 1:15 PM
Tue, July 12 7:00 PM
Wed, July 13 2:15 PM
Thu, July 14 5:15 PM
Fri, July 15 9:15 PM
Sat, July 16 Noon
Tickets: Advance tickets can be purchased for $11 online at www.fringetoronto.com, or by telephone at (416)-966-1062, or at the door before show time for $10.