Alone In This Together (Not Oasis Productions) 2017 Fringe Review

Photograph of Nico Rice, Shohana Sharmin, Jennifer Ashleigh Lloyd, King Chiu, Anne McMaster, Chris O’Neill, and Katherine Fogler by Katherine Fogler.

Alone In This Together, a show by Not Oasis Productions currently running in the Toronto Fringe Festival at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace, is a smart and fun show put on by talented performers of great Toronto-centric sketch comedy. Theatre-goers who like their comedy to reflect local themes, and to do it well, will enjoy this show.

Alone In This Together begins with the seven cast members desperately trying to survive Lake Ontario in this season of flooding. The stage set, the cast then go on to explore some of the hot topics of Toronto in 2017, things like the fraught process of choosing a baby’s name, in a multicultural society not quite as non-racist as it might pretend to be; the way that fighting games and reality TV shows complicate the lives of couples; how splitting bills at restaurants can be fraught, and how different people each bring different things to a CN Tower EdgeWalk. The genius of this show is that it tackles all these topics, and more, with the sort of sharp humour that can make audiences laugh out loud. Alone In This Together even includes some pretty decent musical numbers.

The members of the Not Oasis troupe are uniformly made up of strong writers and actors, and it shows in the way that every one of the individual sketches were successful. The dialogue well-written, the jokes well-timed, and the acting superb with a fluid physicality.

Each member had a chance to shine. King Chiu and Katherine Fogler anchored a fun sketch illustrating just how deadly a home renovation show could be, while Shohana Sharmin, Jennifer Ashleigh Lloyd, and Anne McMaster sang a song about how each decade in a woman’s life has its own problems. Chris Neil and Nico Rice were perfect as two frat bros whose shared bro-ness hides more complicated feelings. The single performance that stood out for me, in the sense that it made me break into almost uncontrollable laughter, was Anne McMaster’s Francophone teacher grown increasingly frustrated to find that her Grade 2 students’ Canada begins in Etobicoke and ends at Bloor Street.

On the technical end, the Extraspace is a good space for Alone In This Together. Director Nigel Downer and stage manager Chris Middleton did a great job of making the Extraspace work for this troupe. The stage worked for them, and they did an excellent job in timing for special effects.

Alone In This Together is one hour and twenty minutes of well-written comedy that can make its audience laugh and think about the community they live in. This show is what Toronto comedy fans (or, perhaps more accurately, fans of Toronto comedy) have been waiting for.

Details

  • Alone In This Together is playing until July 16 at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace. (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • Tickets are $12. 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 Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible.

Performances

  • July 6th at 6:45 pm
  • July 7th at 2:45 pm
  • July 8th at 5:30 pm
  • July 9th at 8:30 pm
  • July 11th at 9:45 pm
  • July 14th at 1:45 pm
  • July 16th at 12:15 pm

Photograph of Nico Rice, Shohana Sharmin, Jennifer Ashleigh Lloyd, King Chiu, Anne McMaster, Chris O’Neill, and Katherine Fogler by Katherine Fogler.

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