Stalled (Natural Progression Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review

stalled

Usually, I think public washrooms are the worst places on Earth. They’re dirty, full of dreadful people and never close enough for when you need them most. But Stalled, a Fringe comedy playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, is one men’s restroom you simply must check out.

Set in a “lower level washroom- the one with the stick figure without a skirt”, Stalled is a collection of skits showcasing just how crazy public washrooms can be. It is everything one would hope for from a show with such a unique and interesting premise.

Ranging from vaudevillian silent slapstick sketches to salaciously hilarious monologues, the writing for this show is incredibly strong and the lines were delivered with clockwork precision. While not every skit is an incontestable comedic goldmine, there were none that fell flat for me and each one was able to illicit more than one laugh-out-loud moment.

Take the opening skit for example, about a dizzy bottle blonde who accidentally walks into the fated restroom while having a phone argument with her boyfriend. The audience was in-stitches after hearing a zinger that perfectly personified her sheer air-headedness.

“I was like, ‘screw you, jackass. I’m not blonde.’ But then I, like, remembered that I totally was.”

A personal favourite was the one-liner told by a young man practicing coming out to his parents in front of the mirror.

“Look out world, here I come… that’s what he said.”

There are no weak links in this ensemble of 10 and their chemistry appeared truly genuine. What’s more, each cast member seems to sincerely be having a good time – making their own enjoyment infectious to the entire audience.

Indeed, Phillip Psutka, Michael Atlin, Lindsay Eitzen, Carolyn Lawrence, Katie Leamen, Scott McCallum, Mark Palumbo, Eric Regimbald and David Straus each bring something wonderfully unique to this performance. But a special mention should be awarded to Stephanie Carpanini. This slapstick guru is simply charming and a pleasure to watch.

Ridiculous yet riveting, Stalled is a must-see this Fringe.

Details:

Stalled is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Ave.)

Performances

  • Sunday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 9 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday, July 10 at 11:15 p.m.
  • Friday, July 12 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 13 at 3:30 p.m.

Tickets

  • Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
  • Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) and are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 EXT 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office at 581 Bloor St W (located in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s). Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.

3 thoughts on “Stalled (Natural Progression Theatre) 2013 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Gian,

    I have to completely disagree with your review.

    I thought that the premise of this show held so much promise, and it was all “flushed” down the toilet.

    When actors yell as much these ones do, you know you have a show in dire straits. The jokes are crude, the writing is half-baked, and most of the characters are far from likeable.

    I think I laughed twice, my friend left, and we both shook our heads at the level of this work.

    First Fringe piece of 2013 – it can only go up.

    Gerry

  2. Gerry,

    You didn’t enjoy the crude jokes?What did you expect from a show set in a public men’s room?

    I think your personal distaste for this style of humor should not be a reflection of the work put into the project. Personally I found the show to be hilarious, boundary pushing, and a very excellently written and acted farce comedy. Is it perfect? No. But it is a developing piece of new theatre and that should be encouraged and applauded! Kudos to these young artists who had the guts to be up there doing their thing and doing a damn good job at it! Personally I didn’t notice the actors yelling (aside from the obvious moments in the fight scenes) but thought they used their voices very well to project to the whole of the 150 seat theatre.

    Overall everyone around me looked to be thoroughly enjoying the show- judging from the outrageous laughter and clapping. Also constructive criticism is always favorable to hurtful attacks. I hope the cast and creative team of Stalled realizes that although the show may not be everyone’s cup of tea- they should still be incredibly proud of their work and know that they are doing a wonderful job at keeping their audiences entertained!

    Enjoy the rest of the festival- hopefully you find shows that are more to your tastes.

    Greg

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