Michelle Blanchard and Marissa Caldwell show lots of potential in their Toronto Festival Fringe debut Two Girls, One Corpse (Lazy Sunday Theatre). Although certain moments tested the suspension of my disbelief, the production was still a solid first-time effort.
After seeing a slew of Fringe shows created by men, it was nice to finally see a show written by women about women. Blanchard and Caldwell play the titular “Two Girls” who, you guessed it, wakes up after the wedding of an ex-boyfriend to find a corpse in their room. While there were plenty of allusions to Murder She Wrote and Veronica Mars, the murder mostly provided a opportunity for the characters to humorously explore their feelings towards growing-up, love, and enduring friendship.
Blanchard and Caldwell have a good ear for the vernacular and, as a 20-something myself, I found a lot of their material very relatable. Unfortunately, there were a few times where I thought certain references sounded forced into the dialogue. In particular, there was an interlude on online dating that seemed very out of the blue to me.
I also got distracted by a few plot holes and couldn’t believe some of the characters’ reactions during the discovery of the body. Although they acknowledge some of these issues later in the show, and some of the comedy is derived from their outlandish response, it still felt incongruous in a play that appeared like it generally tried to stay within the realm of realism.
Blanchard and Caldwell’s obvious closeness as co-writers translated into a wonderful rapport onstage. Sometimes the individual performances weren’t as convincing and sold the writing short, but things picked up as soon as they started their fast-paced bantering. It was very evident in the second half of the play that Blanchard and Caldwell’s different performing styles complimented each other very well.
The production team wisely kept the stage simple, ensuring that we remained focused on the relationship between the characters, and the music selection set the mood quite effectively. However, I did think the lengthy lighting montage that was used to denote the passing of time was unnecessary and brought the energy down.
While Two Girls, One Corpse was a commendable start, I’m more excited to see what Blanchard and Caldwell does next.
- Two Girls, One Corpse is playing until July 12 at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George Street)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- This performance is not accessible for non-English speakers.
July 07 at 06:30 PM
July 08 at 09:15 PM
July 09 at 06:00 PM
July 10 at 12:00 PM
July 12 at 07:30 PM