Okay, I had incredibly high expectations going into Theatre Brouhaha’s Bright Lights at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. If you were to hand pick an all-star team to mount a Fringe show it would look like the team behind this show. There is a lot of seasoned talent in the room and the result of this grouping is sheer theatrical alchemy. Bright Lights is one of the smartest, most uproariously funny and best-performed shows I’ve seen at the Toronto Fringe in recent years.
The all-star team includes superstar indie playwright Kat Sandler who wrote and directed the show, which stars a cast of perennial Fringe stalwarts: Amy Lee and Heather Marie Annis of Morro and Jasp as well as Peter Corlone and Chris Wilson (aka Peter N’ Chris).
First, let’s talk about the writing. Kat Sandler has earned her reputation for writing searing dark comedies that probe at the underbelly of human nature and her script for Bright Lights is a great example of why she has earned so many accolades.
When a woman joins an alien abduction support group she causes the members to suspect that their leader Ross (Colin Munch) may in fact be an alien. The group members put him on trial with madcap twists and turns as they stop at nothing to validate their beliefs.
Sandler deftly uses humour to highlight uncomfortable truths about human nature. Bright Lights is a searing indictment of blind faith but at the same time, it’s also a sympathetic portrait of the individuals who need it as a crutch to get through life.
The show is wickedly funny, the script brims with wit and the dialogue is liberally sprinkled with one-liners that land with a good rhythm. There were belly-laughs and guffaws throughout from the opening night audience (myself included).
The show hits its stride early on and then tears down the track to the finish line. My sole criticism would be that the tight pacing sometimes results in lines being delivered before the audience’s laughs have subsided resulting in the dialogue being briefly inaudible.
Though Sandler’s script is brilliant, what really makes the show pop is the incredible performances. Each cast member is an experienced comedic actor with impeccable timing and intuition as to how to deliver a line, a gesture, or a facial expression to get the biggest laughs. They’re each individually brilliant but they also play off each other well as an ensemble.
I think I’ve gushed enough about the show so click on the link below to book your tickets and do it now before they’re sold out. Don’t miss your chance to see some of the brightest lights on the Fringe circuit today together in one show.
- Bright Lights plays at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. (30 Bridgman Ave)
- Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
- Wednesday June 29th, 10:30 pm
- Friday July 1st, 08:45 pm
- Sunday July 3rd, 03:30 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 06:30 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 12:00 pm
- Friday July 8th, 06:00 pm
- Saturday July 9th, 11:30 pm
Photo of Peter Carlone, Heather Marie Annis, Colin Munch, Amy Lee, Chris Wilson by John Gundy