Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun (Lark & Whimsy Theatre Collective) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Janelle Hanna by Scott Murdoch – Five by Five Photography

An emotionally moving, clowning look at doing a Fringe show, Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun produced by Lark & Whimsy Theatre Collective was an delightful surprise!

It’s Bad Baby’s (Janelle Hanna) first time at the 2017 Toronto Fringe and she’s not clowning around… well kind of. She has set up all the rules to deliver a hit show, but as she runs late to her own production, all of her rules become harder to follow.

Unfortunately, due to good ol’life, I went into the show with a busy mind and a heavy heart. All I wanted was an hour to laugh and forget about life’s problems. Bad Baby gave me that and so much more; as soon as I heard her lively voice I was hooked.

Even though Bad Baby was filled with nervous, anxious, and sexual energy—even losing control of her own show—performer Janelle Hanna had complete control. Her comedic delivery was flawless and her interaction with the audience was so present and charming. The apples of my cheeks were red from smiling show much. She had me hanging on everything she did, and as an audience member she made me feel completely at ease.

On paper Rules Control the Fun was a Fringe show about doing a Fringe show. But instead of being completely cliché and predictable, Janelle Hanna made it seem fresh and exciting. It was a satirical look at the Fringe experience, filled with jokes and gags for Fringe performers and audience members alike.

The real magic was the surprise that was promised by Bad Baby at the top of the show. Now I can’t say much about it, because that would ruin the surprise, but it came around the three quarter mark. The moment it came, I instantly felt tears rolling down my smiling cheeks. It was a theatrical moment that the artist really has to earn, and Janelle Hanna did just that. With no fancy music or lighting, elaborate set or costume, she created theatre magic.

Gosh! That’s all I can say without ruining it. See it! It’s a wonderful reminder about how much we have to give to live our passion, and how isolated we can feel on that journey. I didn’t want to leave my seat because I didn’t want it to end. If this is really the first Fringe show for Bad Baby, I cannot wait for what’s next! This is a true Fringe gem!


  • Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
  • 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 aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Audience Participation, Nudity, Mature Language.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route which requires a staff escort. Check in at the box office at least 20 minutes prior to showtime.


  • Friday July 7th, 01:15 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 09:15 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 04:30 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 07:30 pm
  • Thursday July 13th, 12:00 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 11:00 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 04:00 pm

Photo of Janelle Hanna by Scott Murdoch – Five by Five Photography

One thought on “Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun (Lark & Whimsy Theatre Collective) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. I really enjoyed this one, but my friend is so utterly verklempt — so moved and so touched and so impressed and so overwhelmed by it — that she can’t even write about how much it meant to her.

    And she’s the kind of person who practically breaks out in hives at the notion of both one-woman shows and “red-nose” clown characters. This is just so totally different from anything either of us had ever seen, and so well done, and… oh my.

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