The first Saturday of Fringe, the lineups are longer and the heat has eased a bit. Time for some revisionist history and sketch comedy with A Brief History of History: a 3-Disc Box Set from Starwipe, a six-man comedy troupe who have been together for more than 5 years. Normally they perform improv; this is their first sketch show.
I was at a big disadvantage. I ended up sitting behind a very tall man who must have also been sitting behind someone tall. I would lean to the right so I could see the stage and he would lean to the right at the same time. When I leaned to the left, he leaned to the left. It was as if our leaning was choreographed. I finally gave up on the leaning and accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to see parts of the stage.
The show was funny although not rolling in the aisles funny. Some of the sketches seemed like improv pieces that had been turned into sketches. That doesn’t always work, sometimes the funny things about an improv piece are situational as much as they are content driven. Take away the situation and it’s only going to be half as funny. Or only half the bits are going to be funny.
Some of the body movements were very over-exaggerated. It would help to tone them down a bit. Also to shorten a couple of the skits. The bones of a terrific show are here, they just need to be fleshed out.
For whatever reason I’ve seen amazing shows at Fringe this year. The bar is high. Shows that I would have thought were very good in another year don’t seem as good this year. Not fair to a show like A Brief History of History, but that’s life.
It’s a funny show and you’ll enjoy it. It just isn’t one of my choices for amazing shows.
- A Brief History of History: a 3-Disc Box Set plays at Venue 8 – Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79A Saint George St.)
- Showtimes are July 07 03:30 PM, July 09 09:00 PM, July 11 05:45 PM, July 13 12:00 PM, July 14 05:15 PM, July 15 12:00 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