Review: A Really Bad Play (FroMast Productions)

A Really Bad PlayA Really Bad Play is actually really great and plays at The Pia Bouman School in Toronto

I can go on and on about plays I dislike, that are poorly executed, or just find awkward, but writing about a play I loved is probably one of the hardest things to do. This is the challenge I face now.

In this case the play was poorly executed – on purpose. A Really Bad Play (by FroMast Productions) was performed in a small theatre close to Dufferin and is about a play that is, well, really bad, written and executed by Mark Tipps (Daniel Stolfi). He appears to think that both he and the play are genius.

I have come to love plays that do a lot with very little. The main part of the set of the play – within the play – was a rather unsophisticated cardboard hedge. It’s featured in pretty much every scene.

There are little pieces of set and props that travel on- and off-stage, in a very unpolished, haphazard (as per the play’s theme) manner which is absolutely hilarious. The mood is enhanced even more so by a rather versatile piano accompaniment from Suzy Wilde.

Featuring Shawn Ahmed, Ryan Allen, Jessie Gabe and Trevor Kane Small, the cast plays bumbling understudies who, as you may guess from the title, aren’t very good at what they do. Tipps’ script is, well, not maybe the masterpiece he thinks it is. These two forces (read: incompetent actors and poor writing) amalgamate to produce something that is impressively terrible.

My show partner pointed out that you go in knowing that the story will feature a cast botching things up, and I know we both had certain expectations of what those things would be. While some of those expectations were realized, there were many other things we didn’t see coming. To get into examples would ruin the surprises – and yes there are a great many very funny surprises.

They sing, make dramatic proclamations (if sometimes out of turn), and are entertaining from beginning to end. My personal favourite number was the song “2027”.

It is definitely 60 minutes well spent. If anything, the little bits and pieces I read prior to the show undersell it – but that makes it all the more worth it. I would highly recommend this show. Be warned though, that there is a little bit of adult content – nothing very risqué but not completely family friendly nonetheless. My only complaint – I wish it was playing for longer.


A Really Bad Play is playing at The Pia Bouman School (6 Noble Street) until February 4, 2012

– Shows run everyday at 8:30pm

– Ticket are $15 in advance or $20 at the Door

– Tickets are available online.

– Photograph courtesy of Nick Merzetti