Hungry, presented by JJ Money Productions, is playing now as part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival FringeKids! lineup. The audience was fairly sparse for the opening show on Thursday, but the people who were there seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and the performers still gave it their all. The puppets are impressive even in their simplicity, and the bright colours and different personalities that the puppeteers bring out in each of them really make the show worth seeing.
Hungry is about a little girl named Lisa who wishes she could eat nothing but candy forever, and who goes on an adventure to a land called Sugartown, where she learns why that may not be such a great idea. The 45-minute show includes incredibly corny food jokes, clever puppet names (including Sweet Caroline the sweet potato and Huevos the egg) and my personal favourite part, a potato sack race in slow motion set to the Chariots of Fire theme song. The show is geared towards fairly young kids, but there are definitely some jokes for the adults, too – and yes, even some very timely evil mayor jokes.
Chloe, who is 9, and Leah, who is 13, were with me at the show and both of them “really, really” liked it. They both loved Harold the Couch Potato (Sweet Caroline’s husband, naturally, and father to her ‘tater tots’) and “the blue cotton candy guy”. Chloe’s favourite part was actually before the show began, when one of the puppets, operated by Nick Aiello, was in the audience getting to know the kids and talking to them about their favourite foods. It was a great way to get the kids excited for the show, and they loved seeing their new friend onstage after they had taken their pictures with him just moments before in the audience.
The few songs that are in the show were what I found to be the weakest parts, and I think it would have been just as clever without them. There are very few set pieces, but the ones that are there are effective and fun, especially the fridge, which Leah and Chloe also really liked, and which gets the whole adventure going in the first place. The standout for me was Jen Gallant, who is both the main puppeteer and the show’s Director; her dedication and talent were evident in all of the multiple roles she played and she had a lovely, natural stage presence.
If you’re looking for a fun show to take your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or any other kids in your life to, this is definitely one to check out.
Hungry plays at the Palmerston Library Theatre (560 Palmerston Avenue, near Bathurst and Bloor)
July 05 at 12:30 PM
July 06 at 06:30 PM
July 07 at 05:45 PM
July 09 at 02:30 PM
July 10 at 05:00 PM
July 12 at 11:30 AM
July 13 at 04:45 PM
Tickets for FringeKids productions are $10 for adults, $5 for those 12 or younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door (cash only), or can be purchased in advance for a $2 service charge either 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 Jen Gallant (with Monty) by Kevin Gallant