Matt Folliott and Ted Hallett are a dynamic duo if I ever saw one. From the moment the lights dimmed, and the obscure/not-meant-to-be dreary Fringe announcement ended, they turned the energy in the room right up by jumping out on stage, followed by a sarcastic comment and introduction from their stage manager.
Without giving too much away, their opening musical/dance number is so fun-filled it pulls you right into the action. For those who aren’t too keen on improv, or have seen a lot of (cough, cough) bad college improv teams, it may take a minute to realize the transition between scripted movement and what’s unrehearsed, but it’s a great first time experience to pop that improv cherry.
Their concept is simple: To get a vacation location from the audience to inspire the set. And, since it’s an improv show—completely made up on the spot—it creates a different show every single night. If I had time I would no doubt be buying a ticket to attend again for a most likely sold-out run.
This isn’t my first time being introduced to these high energy, multiple character, improv friends, which is why I was delighted to be reviewing their show. The chemistry they have on stage is explosive. I watched them enjoy the stage together when they switch characters—sometimes even ending up playing each other, and getting a few hearty (but light-hearted) insults in.
Folliott has such an interesting vocabulary of metaphor that it’s hard to believe his phrases are all spontaneous. And Hallett’s high voice contrasted with his tall stature creates comedy in itself, especially when he’s able to convincingly portray an illustrious female character.
It may have not been an audience fully familiar with improv, which the two normally perform for, but the actors seemed to have fun even between minutes without laughter from the audience—and were endearing as ever.
This particular show (which will never happen again, because it’s improv!!) ended with the two climbing on top of each other while trying to share a kayak. Folliott’s line: “if it’s a kayak you’ll have to wear me like a backpack” was a crowd favourite. Their physicality and commitment to all of their actions made them able to fill the large venue of the Factory Mainstage. In fact, seeing them run across the stage, to play another character, added to the hilarity.
Chad Mallett is a show you’ll want to book your tickets for in advance, and maybe even more than once. My only qualm was that I wished it were longer, because I could have watched the two on stage for hours.
- Chad Mallett plays at the Factory Mainspace (125 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: Sexual Content, Audience Participation, Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route.
- Friday July 7th, 06:45 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 12:00 pm
- Monday July 10th, 10:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 07:30 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 05:15 pm
- Friday July 14th, 02:15 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 03:30 pm
Photo of Matt Folliott and Ted Hallett provided by company.