The Mooney on Theatre Staff’s Most-Wanted Shows at Fringe 2015
At Mooney on Theatre, we break hearts. Every Fringe, we ask our writers to give us a list of their most-wanted shows — and because we can’t assign the same show to 9 people, most of them go home empty-handed.
But you don’t have to! Gathered here is the wisdom of our crowd: the shows which excited, interested, titillated and drew our staff towards them. We call them our Hot Tickets, and — in no particular order — here they are.
Let’s start with the lurid: Pretending Things Are A Cock, which reads like the hands-off, multimedia-enhanced successor to global hit Puppetry of the Penis. Described by the company as a “unique” experience which has already thrilled, entertained and subtly aroused audiences on three continents, our writer Jess Gillis can’t wait to “gobble it up”:
The title Pretending Things Are A Cock intrigued me immediately. It’s such a potent symbol for our sex-obsessed culture! The description “…award winning show of over 300 pretend cocks…” sealed it for me. Phalluses, photography, stand-up, and Australian accents always get a rise out of me. I’m eagerly awaiting this show!
Pretending Things are a Cock opens on July 3rd at 5:15 PM and plays its run at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina, near Harbord.) See below for ticketing information.
En route to an Edinburgh gig, Morro and Jasp are remounting their 2009 Fringe hit, Morro and Jasp Do Puberty: this is one of the most surefire successes of the festival, and we understand that performances are selling quickly. These clown sisters have tickled, shocked, rattled and warmed audiences for nearly a decade now, and while this isn’t a new production, six years of refining their characters and rethinking the story gives us a lot to anticipate. As our writer Ilana Lucas describes it,
Morro and Jasp completely changed my mind about how much I enjoy clown, and I always eagerly await what their brilliantly inventive minds will come up with next, whether it’s skewering classic literature, cooking shows, or in this case, the most awkward time in most of our lives. They hit all the right notes, in both their physical and emotional work!
Morro and Jasp Do Puberty opens on July 1st at 10:00 PM and plays its run at the Tarragon Mainspace. (30 Bridgman, near Dupont and Bathurst.) See below for ticketing information.
I’m a millennial, so People Suck means something to me: low-level misanthropic glee is our generational passtime. Far beyond “Did you see what Stacey is wearing”, we’ve skipped straight ahead to “Can you BELIEVE he liked my photo? Can you BELIEVE it?!”
Watching this group of expert comedians run through a set which skewers everything about this modern obsession with social inadequacy is going to be a rewarding experience. Nora Inveiss is looking forward to it, too:
I love musicals and dislike (some) people, so I naturally gravitated towards People Suck, a marriage of cynicism and song. With a killer production team and cast (many of whom are Second City alums), this is going to be an awesomely entertaining show! Can’t wait to validate my pet peeves through the power of music.
People Suck opens on July 1st at 8:15 PM, and plays its run at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst, near Bathurst and Bloor.) See below for ticketing information.
Served doesn’t stand out on points alone: we’ve seen customer service confessionals before, and while they’re often funny, after awhile they all start to blend together. But if you go a little deeper, you start to see why Served is worth a ticket: it’s hard to beat the Fringe pedigree of Mahmoud, and the use of an ambitious framing device — not just customer service staff ranting, but a narrative crafted by a member of the Soulpepper Playwrights Unit — promises good things, just so long as it gels. Managing Editor Wayne Leung is looking forward to it:
Like many people, I’ve worked service industry jobs, both front- and back-of-house, while aspiring to bigger and better things and that experience is part of what drew me to Served at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. I also enjoy site-specific theatre and Queen West’s Epicure Café ought to be a perfect setting a piece about servers.
Served opens on July 1st at 7:00 PM, and plays its run at the Epicure Cafe. (502 Queen St. W.) See below for ticketing information.
We’re a sucker for a love story, and She Said Yes speaks to our tiny, shrivelled, modern hearts, promising to go after sterile online dating and soppy meet-cutes in equal measure. The search for love is universal, but in our age of increasing isolation, just what does it take for two people to connect? Tracey Beltrano, who will be reviewing it for us, is eager to hear the answer:
I love shows that I can identify with. Online dating and dating in general seem to get brought up in every conversation I have these days and are the butt of many jokes or the reason for many tears. I love hearing people’s horror stories! What better way to get over your own dating failures then to relish in the absurdity and humour of someone else’s?
She Said Yes opens on July 2nd at 9:15 PM and plays its run at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.) See below for ticketing information.
In Case We Disappear reads like an unassuming show, and in what is shaping up to be a great year for women at Fringe, might have gotten lost in the shuffle — if only the buzz weren’t so incredible. Creator Vanessa Smythe has already toured this piece internationally, and we can’t wait to see this ambitious project (a bedtime story for a sibling grows into an analysis of modern love and modern life) given a proper Toronto opening. Our correspondent Ilana Lucas is no exception to this excitement:
To me, the best thing about the Fringe is the community it creates and the importance of word of mouth. Every year I ask, “what’s going to be good?” This year, everyone kept mentioning “In Case We Disappear.” It promises comedy, music and poetry, all of which bring me fully on board. I’m excited to see what she describes as a “theatrical love letter to us all,” because that’s how I’d describe the Fringe!
In Case We Disappear opens on July 3rd at 3:00 PM, and plays its run at the Tarragon Extraspace. (15 Bridgman Ave.) See below for ticketing information.
And, finally, the emergent darlings of the Canadian Fringe circuit, James and Jamesy, who have now played something like 40 times at festivals from coast to coast. This summer they’re touring two shows in repertory, and Toronto’s getting High Tea, a sequel to their 2013 sell-out smash hit 2 for Tea. James and Jamesy are absurdist physical comedians with a particular taste for audience participation and social media: expect antics to spill into the aisles, out the doors, and all over the Twitterverse. Nora Inveiss can’t wait to catch this one:
British humour may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it sure is mine! This is what initially drew me to James & Jamesy’s High Tea, but the play offers more than quirky comedy; it promises an adventure in imagination and loads of audience participation. Teatime never looked so fun!
High Tea opens on July 2nd at 7:00 PM, and plays its run at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.) See below for ticketing information.
Fringe tickets are $12 in advance, and can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), or during the festival from the central box office located in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s. (581 Bloor St. W., near Bathurst.)
If any tickets are left as of one hour before showtime, they are sold from the venue for $10 apiece, cash-only. For FringeKids! productions (inclusive of all productions at the George Ignatieff Theatre), tickets for children are always $5. A variety of money-saving multi-show passes are also available, see website for details.
NOTE: Fringe shows always begin strictly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and try your damnedest not to be late.