If you’re like me, when you’re coming to a show and you see that there’s audience participation involved, your immediate reaction is a combination of irritation and unease. So when I went to see Summer Hot, Some Are Not, put on by The Good Samaritans at the Toronto Fringe Festival, I was glad that I’d be protected by my status as a reviewer – I had a good excuse to stay out of it.
How wrong I was. Yes, I was never specifically called out by the performers of the taboo-breaking sketch comedy revue (thank Zeus). But they brought up more than enough thought-provoking stuff throughout the show that I can’t help but feel like the “audience participation” they were referring to included self-reflection.
I’d be doing the folks at Summer Hot, Some Are Not a disservice if I specifically mentioned what happens in any of the scenes. It’d ruin their material for them. But I can tell you that I laughed way too loudly at a lot of it. More or less all of the scenes and situations take common awkward situations or issues, find the darkest possible twist, and commit fully to that darkness. Hilarity, I’m happy to say, usually ensues. They cover a lot of risky topics, and that could have gone sour, but it doesn’t.
Dare I say, I also really enjoyed their musical number (which is in the show description, so, no spoilers there). Lots of comedy shows these days (here’s looking at you, SNL) seem to default to “Oh, we’ll have them sing a song! Songs are funny!”. Not all songs are funny! But the song in Summer Hot, Some Are Not is funny, well-written, and in keeping with the show’s overall themes.
One scene in particular, which basically consisted of two of the performers attempting to rationalize strange suggestions from the audience, sort of fell flat. And I could tell that the performers were a bit uncomfortable with their lines, at times – but this isn’t Shakespeare, and one of the show’s major themes is acceptance of one’s own faults. So it was almost fitting – and I’m sure they’ll settle into the show more as they do more performances.
The group, made up of Christopher Martin, Nicole Dunn, Simon McCamus, Magdalena Barys, and Filipe Dimas, has created a show that is charming, engaging, and well worth the price of admission. Just be prepared to participate – one way or another.
Summer Hot, Some Are Not plays at the Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
July 04 at 10:30 PM
July 05 at 12:00 PM
July 06 at 05:45 PM
July 07 at 08:30 PM
July 08 at 12:30 PM
July 09 at 11:00 PM
July 13 at 05:45 PM
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Christopher Martin, Nicole Dunn, Simon McCamus, Magdalena Barys, and Filipe Dimas by Raw Photography