Get out your toe socks and your mix-tapes, because Hole Punch Productions’ Hey ’90s Kids, You’re old will scour your arsenal of 90’s themed memories and wring you dry. This sketch comedy show at the Toronto Fringe Festival is centred around nostalgia for the 1990s. Hole Punch Productions has constructed a funny show that delivers exactly what it promises.
Most of the sketches share the common theme of 20 or 30 somethings who are stuck in the past, unable to release the rad decade that brought the 20th Century to a close. In fact, perhaps a few too many sketches shared this theme. By the 30 minute mark, I sort of got the point, and wished for a few fresher ideas thrown into the mix.
Taryn Parrish, the writer and director of this show, is funny and original, though perhaps working with a collaborator with a different perspective may have served the show. The actual content of the sketches, however, are not redundant- and you will be reminded of just how many pop songs, toys, and other references consumed the ‘90s. After all, a decade is a long time, and this show attempts to cover it all.
The sketches are very funny, and most of the punch lines are unexpected. I heard a lot of “ah”s and “mmm”s coming from the audience, so it would seem this show discusses a shared experience. Most of the pop culture references are common enough that most people will probably find them familiar. There were a few that were lost on me, but we can’t all relate to every reference.
I will say that if you were born any time after 1996, you may not remember some of the references. Most of the topics, though, like Magic School Bus, Backstreet Boys, and Tamagotchis have stood the test of time. So even if you didn’t live through it, and may not have an emotional connection to the various topics, you can still appreciate the references.
There are two sketches in particular that I found exceptionally clever and hilarious: one about Mario Brothers, and one about the board game Sorry. I am reluctant to describe them because what makes them so funny is that they completely divert your expectations, so I’ll let you see for yourself.
From the boom boxes to the dial-up internet, Hey ’90s Kids, You’re Old is a perfect throwback for those who remember the 90’s with fondness- and even those who don’t!
Hey ’90s Kids, You’re Old will be playing at St. Vladimir’s Theatre (620 Spadina Ave.)
July 04 at 9:15 pm
July 05 at 4:00 pm
July 07 at 6:30 pm
July 09 at 11:15 pm
July 10 at 9:15 pm
July 11 at 12:30 pm
July 13 at 1:00 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 Tarryn Parrish by David Franczak