Sometimes a Toronto Fringe show goes on to fame and fortune outside of the fringe circuit. Last year it was Kim’s Convenience. This year it could be The Wakowski Brothers. This is a play that should go on to bigger and better things.
It’s not the show I was expecting based on the program blurb. I thought it would be “a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”. There was a lot of song and a lot of dance, no seltzer, a pie that didn’t get thrown, and a fairly complex story in between the vaudeville bits.
I wasn’t the only person who was surprised, and impressed. The buzz in the washroom after the show was all about how terrific it was, and how it was so much more than people were expecting.In the program the show is listed as a comedy and a musical. Sometimes it’s hard to fit things in a box. I’d describe it a s a dramedy with singing and dancing. And puns, lots of puns. (Those are in the vaudeville bits.) It’s very funny but it’s also serious and touching.
The Wakowski Brothers were a successful vaudeville act. They haven’t performed together or even seen each other for 8 years. They’re back together for one last time for a reunion show. We learn about them and their lives and careers through their conversations with each other and with Caitlyn Rose – who was once married to Jim Wakowski – in between their vaudeville numbers and through flashbacks.
The story is a bit predictable but playwright Wesley J. Colford doesn’t give in and provide a musical cliche happy ending. Good for him, it would have spoiled the piece.
The cast – Derek Scott, Duff MacDonald and Lorretta Bailey – is terrific, singing and dancing up a storm. They seem to be enjoying themselves on stage, something that makes for great energy.
I loved The Wakowski Brothers, it’s a definite must-see show. If you miss it at the 2012 Toronto Fringe you’ll probably be able to see it at The Winter Garden after Mirvish picks it up. The tickets will be more expensive though.
- The Wakowski Brothers plays at Venue 7 – St Vladimir’s (620 Spadina Ave.)
- Showtimes are July 06 01:15 PM, July 08 03:30 PM, July 09 08:15 PM, July 10 08:30 PM, July 12 07:00 PM, July 15 04:30 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are also available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, or 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 Derek Scott, Lorretta Bailey, Duff MacDonald by Kent Nolan