Review: To The Last Cry/The Lost Sagas of Tjorvi The Flaccid (Theatre Lab/Pandemic Theatre)

Last Cry - promo shot

Engaging double bill from Toronto’s sister companies Theatre Lab and Pandemic Theatre

Not knowing what to expect from sister companies Theatre Lab and Pandemic Theatre, I decided to give this double bill a shot. Playing at Factory Studio Theatre, To The Last Cry and The Lost Sagas of Tjorvi The Flaccid are both hilarious and original.

Initially, I thought I would write two separate reviews for these shows. However, after experiencing both for myself, it became very clear why these two companies choose to work together. Both productions, although widely different in plot, shared a very similar energy.

The Theatre Lab‘s To The Last Cry tells the story of an anonymous peasant boy who confronts an enchanted forest in order to save his dying brother. The Lost Sagas of Tjorvi The Flaccid presented by Pandemic Theatre, takes us to a Viking World where Tjorvi struggles to break free of his emasculating title.

Let me start by saying that I thought both shows were incredibly creative. From the man-made forest (which was AWESOME!) in To The Last Cry to the epic battle scenes in The Lost Sagas of Tjorvi The Flaccid, I thought both companies were successful in their staging despite the completely bare playing area. Actually, I think the lack of a set worked well in this particular instance because the costuming was so effective. It also forced me to use my imagination in a way that most theatre doesn’t encourage.

Pandemic promo

The acting across the board was of a very high calibre. There isn’t a single person in either one of the casts that falls short. I will say though, that the character of the French priest in The Last Sagas of Tjorvi The Flaccid almost made me pee in my pants. In both instances, the energy was high and the hilarity kept coming.

Because both productions seemed to be in a somewhat sketch comedy style, I’m not sure that the more tender moments really hit the mark, however. They didn’t seem to match the hilarity of the rest of the show. The balance between funny and sad seemed a bit off at times which left me wondering what kind of vibe the directors were aiming to create.

Also, my ears could have used a bit of a break from all that nondescript violin playing in To The Last Cry. I’m all for live music incorporated in theatre, but it was constant throughout almost the entire show. I kept wondering if the musician would ever get tired.

That being said, if you’re looking for something refreshingly against the grain, this double bill is a must-see. Hilarious and professional all at the same time, this team-up is creativity at its best.