Headshots and Healing Potions (Monkeyman Productions) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

For any man, woman, teen or kid that has ever picked up a controller, fought mega boss after mega boss only to realize the princess is in another castle, Headshots and Healing Potions from Monkeyman Productions is the perfect Fringe show for you. That is, if you show up to the Shed in the Artist Alley early enough to grab a seat in their tiny…TINY…theatre. They don’t call it a Shed for nothing.

To start, a few things need to be cleared up. The Fringe program book and website state that this production is 120 minutes long, it is not. Headshots is 45 minutes long and performed twice with about ten minutes in between. If you’re hanging out in the Artist Alley behind Honest Ed’s, you’re within a stone’s throw of the production so be sure to come by for this Pay What You Can production.

And yes, the Shed is very small, barely ten feet across on the inside. It seats six people comfortably with one or two other seats that can be added on the side. If you’re not seated, you’ll end up watching the performance from outside the door.

Considering the small space, the actors (Jeffrey Henderson, Manda Whitney, and Adam Cresswell) are within reach distance from the audience, so be sure to keep your arms, legs and personal belongings close as it will easily get crowded in there. This all creates a very intimate environment which works as some of the monologues felt like a rather tete-a-tete conversation the actors are having with the audience but otherwise I felt the mini scenes would have worked well on a larger platform.

And it’s these mini scenes that create the show revolving around gamer culture – from that stuck-in-a-box scenario in a roleplay game where opening a door is harder than it should ever be, to conversations had with “that old-school gamer” while waiting in line for that midnight release. From gamers on a first date where the clash of first person shooter vs. role player could lead to a match made in gamer purgatory to the one word that can describe constant aggravation to any gamer: noob.

The scenes are cut with reaching a Headshots and Healing Potions “safe zone” where the audience is encouraged to insert more coins in the gamer slots inside the Shed and outside the door. The audience is also invited to stay for more of the show or continue on their way if they want.

It’s a production created by gamer geeks, performed by gamer geeks and made for gamer geeks to enjoy. If you’ve never played a console game before you may find yourself rather lost in the woods but if you can remember fondly jumping for coins or powering up with a red toadstool mushroom then Headshots and Healing Potions is the perfect show for you.

Details

  • Headshots and Healing Potions plays at The Shed at The Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor Street West).
  • Show times are: July 7 at 8:45 and 9:30, July 9 at 6:45 and 7:30, July 10 at 8:45 and 9:30, July 12 at 8:45 and 9:30, July 14 at 6:45 and 7:30, and July 15 at 8:45 and 9:30.
  • All individual Fringe tickets are $10 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

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