Sacrelicious (Desk Rabbit Productions) 2011 Toronto Fringe Review

A series of three conversations take place during a Christian church service: The first between a husband and wife with a strained relationship, the second a mother and daughter, and the third, a pair of friends. Each conversation is entirely silly and inappropriate for church. This is Sacrelicious, and it’s playing at the Annex Theatre for the duration of the festival.

Each conversation is introduced by the Pastor (Greg Wilmot), who invites the audience to rise, but first makes a few church announcements. The Pastor was appropriately awkward – it was a funny performance that highlighted the banality of some church services.

The husband and wife duo were spot-on. These people felt familiar; we all know this couple, a nagging wife frazzled by her oafish husband. Nadia Ouellet’s portrayal of the husband was particularly good – she plays the opposite gender quite well.

The second act, a mother and daughter duo were also fairly familiar – a batty mother and her ever-exasperated daughter. The pair carried the momentum of the first act quite nicely.

It wasn’t until the third act, between the friends, that the play began to unravel a little. They were acting like teenagers in terms of manner and their topic of discussion. I can picture having this exact conversation with my friends, but I won`t ruin it for you – needless to say, it’s quite random. However, they were dressed like little old ladies. I had a hard time figuring out who these people were, and it was therefore more confusing than amusing.

Each of the three sets of characters is played by Rebecca Vandevelde and Nadia Ouellet. Each portrayed three characters, and each was distinct from one another. Their comic timing and reactions were also well done. They did an admirable job.

What the production suffered from was a lack of energy. There was a lot of funny material and the performances were decent, however the actors went about their parts so meekly that a lot of the jokes didn’t end up landing. If they were more energized throughout the entire performance the show would have been absolutely hysterical. The performance felt phoned in and suffered for it.

The show has a lot of potential to be a laugh riot. With a lack of enthusiasm over the material, however, it falls a bit flat, unfortunately making  Sacrelicious a little reminiscent of the church services it’s designed to mock.

Details:
Sacrelicious is playing at the Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst Street) until July 17, 2011.
– Show dates are July 13 at 7:30pm, July 15 at 9:15pm, July 16 at 12:30pm, and July 17 at 3:30pm.
– 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 New Festival Box Office (July 6-17, 12-9pm) – The Fringe Club, 581 Bloor St. W. (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows