Mind Map (Fisgard Labs) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

mind mapMind Map by Fisgard Labs began on a high note. Wes Lord walked on stage and was greeted with a shy round of applause. Lord looked at the dozen odd people in the seats and pointed out how unenthusiastic we sounded. Sheepishly, the audience realized we could muster a bit more noise. Lord demanded a mulligan and walked off stage. He announced his presence once again and was met with loud clapping and cheers. It was an awkwardly charming start, but I found the charm wore off with this Toronto Fringe Festival show.

Larson immediately pointed out that the set was lacklustre. He explained that he intended to do an elaborate set to reflect the show title, but unfortunately he could not transport it from Vancouver. Lord continued that three other players were supposed to be involved, but they had all forgotten to purchase plane tickets. Thirdly, along with the set and friends, the jokes had not made it on the plane either.

I understand that this is part of Lord’s awkward shtick. The point is to purposely cause discomfort, like when he decides to have the lights turned off and continue his routine in the dark. As much as I understand the style, the performance actually felt unprepared. I do enjoy quirky comedies, but the long pauses and meandering anecdotes made it seem more like an open-mic night.

I had moments of genuine laughter. Lord’s tales of pancake love and an unfortunate latex allergy were delightful. These jokes were overshadowed by the discomfort in the room, by both the comedian and the audience members. I felt like every one was counting down the minutes.

If you enjoy humour that is purposely awkward and fumbling, then try this out. I cannot deny that some may like being uncomfortable for the sake of comedy. Otherwise, I would suggest finding another show. Fringe offers a lot of comedies that have sharp writing and good energy that might be more appreciated.

Mind Map
(Fisgard Labs) plays at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman avenue).

July 04 at 08:15 PM
July 05 at 10:15 PM
July 07 at 05:45 PM
July 08 at 08:30 PM
July 09 at 10:00 PM
July 10 at 04:30 PM
July 13 at 02:15 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.