Folk Lordz: Warriors & Fools (Rapid Fire Theatre) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Todd Houseman and Ben Gorodetsky

Folk Lordz: Warriors & Fools surprised me. I expected the kind of storytelling you get where someone stands and tells you things – I figured this (at Factory Studio) would be a two-person version. Instead, it’s…well? It’s a Cree-Yiddish improvised cultural storytelling (#becausefringe). And it’s a real treat.

Todd Houseman and Ben Gorodetsky of Edmonton are – respectively – Cree and Russian Jewish, and they have artistic practices and interests informed by their heritages. And so, within the frames of their cultural stories, they improvise something in the same style. To round out the deal, the audience is also asked to contribute: a place, a complaint people have, and some sort of a frame or trope for the duo to improvise within. Our audience picked “global pandemic disaster movie.” Since the show is never the same twice I can tell you, without fear of spoiling, that at the end of this global pandemic disaster movie John Tory was the last inhabitant of earth and mutants had taken over the moon and elected a King. Named Zeus.

Each of the three stories comes in three parts, and they segue between them in transitions so seamless that the the light cue on it was late a couple times. Like many improbably successful combinations, it’s a little weird in places but ultimately very satisfying. The Cree and Yiddish-framed stories had a tremendous sense of both reverence and sweetness.

There are a few discordant places, mostly when Ben Gorodetsky makes an aside to the audience to chide or correct Houseman. It grated on me quickly. But all in all, Folk Lordz has a lot to recommend it. It also strikes me as an excellent all-ages show – something multiple generations could easily enjoy together, which can be a challenge at Fringe. I could see two or even three generations having a pretty good time at this.


  • Folk Lordz: Warriors & Fools plays at the Factory Theatre Studio. (125 Bathurst St)
  • 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: Realistic Violence or Gore.
  • This venue is NOT wheelchair-accessible.


  • Friday July 1st, 03:00 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 06:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 10:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 05:45 pm
  • Thursday July 7th, 11:30 pm
  • Friday July 8th, 07:00 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 12:30 pm

Photo provided by company