Sean & Steven Run for Mayor (Spare Drawer Productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

seanandstevenIn case you haven’t had enough of the mayoral race, the Toronto Fringe Festival keeps the political humour going with Spare Drawer Productions’s Sean & Steven Run for Mayor. The show focuses on two bright young men, seeking to win the vote as co-mayors in order to make Toronto a better place. In the process they learn some valuable things about themselves and overthrow the top candidate: an evil, extremely capitalist and militaristic woman seeking to raze the city and exploit its resources.

For a fledgling theatre company and debut Fringe show, I think Sean & Steven is a pretty cookie-cutter example of what to do right. They have a decent premise, quick scene changes with excellent use of a convertible podium as the only set-piece, a small nimble cast of three, and boundless energy to carry the pace along.

The script itself is pretty snappy, with some memorable one-liners, musical sections and a nice pseudo-medley based off of Disney’s newest insta-classic, Frozen. Out of the three actors, I think Nicole Buscema slays as the terrifyingly sexy arch nemesis of Sean and Steven. She’s got sass and pizzazz and just enough psycho to bring the character to the next level, she also delivers some of the best lines in the show.

Steven Suepaul’s boundless energy as the strangely charismatic, if not somewhat misguidedly arrogant lead of the same name, did steal the show a little. I appreciated his boisterous enthusiasm and felt less like he was “acting” and more like that’s just the way his character was supposed to be. I like my actors sincere in their delivery and I think Steven accomplishes this while keeping the humour intact.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can say the same for Sean Ogle. I fear his over-the-top earnestness fell a little flat between his co-stars. As the straight man, I almost felt that Sean was trying too hard to be as much of a character as the other two, which meant that the piece had nobody grounding it. It also made his character seem, to me at least, less sympathetic.

I think Sean & Steven Run for Mayor is a fun little show, though perhaps not the most innovative or interesting one I’ve seen at a Fringe festival. I think it has all the right pieces in all the right places, and if you enjoy political humour that comes with its requisite Rob Ford jabs, you should check this one out.


Sean & Steven Run for Mayor is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Ave.)

Show times
Saturday July 5 8:30pm
Monday July 7 7:30pm
Tuesday July 8 3:15pm
Wednesday July 9 6:30pm
Friday July 11 1:45pm
Saturday July 12 9:45pm
Sunday July 13 12:30pm

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 Sean Ogle, Nicole Buscema, and Steven Suepaul by Jacqueline Andrade.