Who are you going to call when you need an exorcist? Why, the rock duo Lyricas, of course! LYRICAS Presents: Creature Slaying in the Key of G by Lyricas, is playing at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival.
Sadly, this rock comedy show in its battle against evil has some demons of its own to defeat before I’d recommend checking it out.
After Eleanor Wigby (Elisha DiFabio) and Gallagher Stark (Gabriel Difabio) had their music imbued with evil-fighting powers, they formed the band Lyricas. The duo teamed up with Father Michael (Adam Rankin) to try to save the world. Years later, after a tragedy breaks them apart, an old foe reappears and Lyricas must once again pick up their instruments and join in the fray.
There is a pre-show warning of mature language that I think sums up much of the humour here: mature language. A stronger warning may be required, because there is more than standard adult humour and cursing.
LYRICAS Presents: Creature Slaying in the Key of G is situational comedy that depends more on shock value than it does on humour brought about by genuine moments.
And let’s be honest, when you enter shock value territory you also enter problematic land. There were jokes here that required serious side-eye. I get that LYRICAS Presents: Creature Slaying in the Key of G is satire, handling dark and mature subject matter, but comedy doesn’t give free reign to throw things in without thought.
The show has, in no particular order: a miscarriage, questionable reference to shamanism using every trope in the book (which I won’t repeat here), politically incorrect cowboys throwing out a strange comparison between multi-colored balloons and Mexicans (yes, that happened), and the importance of motherhood.
I don’t think the artists had a particular tone in mind but I personally felt that these jokes didn’t land well. They didn’t feel well thought out and I think they came out of left field—said to get a reaction instead of make a statement.
When you see these comments set against some of the better moments of the show, it’s jarring. Ironically, LYRICAS Presents: Creature Slaying in the Key of G is at its funniest when it gets absurd or straight out acknowledges itself. We discover at the start of the show that Eleanor Wigby is cursed, and her metaphors can only be lyrics from Alannis Morrissett’s song “Isn’t it Ironic”; this is smart, unexpected, and well-used throughout the play.
There was a great debate about using drugs for creativity that included a jab at jazz music and a nice breaking of the fourth wall using all three actors. Even Rankin had some fun off the cuff rants about music coverage and the Kardashians.
So there’s some good material there but it is buried under the need to surprise audience sensibilities, and not in the way that counts.
- LYRICAS Presents: Creature Slaying in the Key of G plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George St)
- Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance and 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. 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.
- Friday July 1st, 01:15 pm
- Sunday July 3rd, 06:15 pm
- Monday July 4th, 08:30 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 10:00 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 05:45 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 04:15 pm
- Saturday July 9th, 11:30 pm
Photo of Elisha DiFabio and Gabriel DiFabio courtesy of Lyricas