Peter n’ Chris and the Kinda OK Corral, presented by Peter n’ Chris, is playing now at the Randolph Theatre as part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Their opening show was also my first show of the festival this year, and I couldn’t have asked for a more fun hour in which to kick things off. If you’re a fan of sketch comedy, Westerns, handsome men in Canadian tuxedos (denim on denim, anyone?) or just a fan of laughing in general, then you’ll want to add this show to your list of Fringe picks.
The plotline is fairly typical of old Westerns – an evil villain threatens to take away the land of a cowboy unless he can come up with a whole lot of money quickly, and a bromance is formed between two cowboys. Okay, maybe it isn’t exactly typical, but it still works, and aside from a few drops in energy and minimal kinks which I’m guessing were mostly due to opening night jitters, the show runs smoothly and keeps the audience laughing the whole way through.
There is no set to speak of and only two or three props used, yet with the lighting and music choices as strong as they are, the audience is still easily transported back to the old West – the “wild” part, to be specific – with these clever comedians who, I should point out, also dance, sing, and play instruments (well…sort of). Both Peter and Chris jump back and forth seamlessly, and hilariously, between their main characters and several supporting ones, including a landlord, villain, villain’s assistant, and a truly unforgettable cow.
These guys aren’t afraid to break the fourth wall and connect with their audience directly, and while that isn’t always my favourite approach, in this case it works and somehow makes the show even funnier. There are lots of pop culture references (which this reviewer is, admittedly, a sucker for) and though they are mainly geared towards younger folk, there’s still a little something for everyone. The pre-show music put us all in the mood – the Western mood, that is – and the show hit all the right marks from there on out.
Both Peter and Chris are strong in their own ways and they have great onstage chemistry which is a big part of what makes the show so much fun. They’re both genuinely entertaining and have great comedic timing, and they’ve created the type of Fringe show that most people hope to come across – one from which they can walk away smiling, satisfied, and happy to have supported such talented performers.
Don’t let the title fool you, because despite what the corral itself may be like, this show is way beyond just kinda OK. It’s kinda great.
Peter n’ Chris and the Kinda OK Corral plays at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street).
July 07 at 06:30 PM
July 08 at 10:45 PM
July 09 at 03:30 PM
July 11 at 12:00 PM
July 12 at 04:00 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club (rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson provided by Peter n’ Chris.