How May I Mate You? (The Poorhouse Players) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

cast of How May I Mate YouHere’s what I can say about How May I Mate You? (at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace 2016 Toronto Theatre Festival) — the group of sixteen-year-olds beside me LOVED it. They laughed at all the jokes, and left the theatre chattering happily about how much they’d liked it. Maybe I’m just too old for this show, but I never really got any better than “mildly amused” during this hour-long performance.

The premise is a game show, in which couples compete for prizes — like The Newlywed Game, but a little more explicit. There’s a smarmy host and a lovely assistant (who has a tendency to blurt) and a variety of challenges for contestants to complete. It’s all quite resolutely heterosexual, though not at all homophobic, which is nice.

I find it hard to pinpoint particular things with which to find fault — the actors knew their lines and delivered them with great energy, there had clearly been a more-than-adequate amount of rehearsal (sometimes difficult with Fringe shows), and so forth. I just found very few of the jokes funny. I didn’t really love the stereotype of the hypersexual Black man, nor was I much into the way small-framed John was bossed/feminized by his larger wife Mary.

It’s possible that as someone with a sexuality education background I have a somewhat higher bar for sex-related jokes because I have heard the most popular hundred gags so very many times. It’s also possible that this show, which I believe is somewhat improvisational, will find a better groove (and funnier jokes) along the way.

For now, though the kids next to me were clearly very into this show, I really just didn’t laugh.


  • How May I Mate You? plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. (16 Ryerson 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.
  • Tickets can be purchased 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.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Mature Language, Sexual Content, Audience Participation.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible.


  • Wednesday June 29th, 10:30 pm
  • Saturday July 2nd, 07:30 pm
  • Monday July 4th, 01:15 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 04:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 07:30 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 09:15 pm
  • Sunday July 10th, 01:00 pm

Photo provided by company

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