Brainiac Five is a collective of improvisers that formed barely two months ago. Their show, An Eclectic Aggregation of Erudition and Information, is part of Toronto Fringe Festival at Tarragon Theatre Extra Space.
Brainiac Five is five wonderful characters. Watching them reminded me of Andy Kaufman. Are the characters more real or are the people who created them? The line between the two is blurred. The audience was involved and even insulted playfully at times, another thing Kaufman used to do.
They’ve all built incredible “biographies”. There’s a world renowned bookstore owner, a cigar chomping world class athlete, a comic book guru who makes The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy seem like an amateur, a man-child and a woman who makes the PMRC seem like radical hippies.
One of their intriguing claims is that the characters “believe that their point of view is more true than the mere facts”. I love this sort of myth and character building and playing it to the hilt.
I think one member of Brainiac Five, Harlan Pedersen, is based on Dick Valentine of Electric Six. The resemblance is uncanny.
All seven performances of Brainiac Five have a theme. “Biography of Famous Person” was the theme on the night I attended. The audience suggest topics related to the theme. Then, Brainiac Five teach the audience about the same. The audience I was part of learned about the turtle hunt for the ultra-rich in the Galapagos Islands, George Carlin and Oscar Wilde. Over the top and wonderful!
The troupe is really young, and this was their first Fringe show. There were some rough moments, a bit of stage fright, but this is to be expected. Confidence and chemistry will grow, and each Brainiac Five show will be better than the last. These folks are going to be a lot of fun to watch grow.
I have to confess. I think I developed a crush on Tarragon the night I saw this play. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a beverage on their patio before Brainiac Five’s performance. The guys next to me were talking baseball. That’s one of the great things about Fringe. You see venues in a new light, with new people, see great new talent and everything is right in the world.
- Brainiac Five Presents: An Eclectic Aggregation of Erudition and Information plays at Venue 2, Tarrgon Theatre Extra Space, 30 Bridgeman Avenue
- Showtimes: Thu. July 5 @ 9:15 PM, Sun. July 8 @ 6:30 PM, Mon. July 9 @ 1:00 PM, Wed. July 11 @ 7:30 PM, Thu. July 12 @ 5:15 PM, Fri. July 13 @ 9:15 PM, Sat. July 14 @ 12:00 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 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows
Photo of the cast of Brainiac Five Presents: An Eclectic Aggregation of Erudition and Information by Justine Cargo