Life’s a Betch is a sketch comedy show performed by Sketch Betch at the Toronto Fringe Festival. The troupe is made up of four performers who met while studying at the Second City – Miguel Gauthier, Katharine O’Brien, Nora Saliken, and Eitan Shalmon. They were joined on stage by musical director and keyboardist Carmen Braund, who provided the perfect background music for each scene.
Life’s a Betch features strong writing and strong performances. The delivery was crisp and the timing was spot on. The four team members have great chemistry, playing off of each other’s energy. The subject matter was wide-ranging, covering everything from monks to magicians.
Some bits were slices of everyday life. One of my favourites featured O’Brien as a waitress reciting the endless choices and options for types of toast, types of potatoes, and types of salad dressing as a couple tries to order a meal. It sounds mundane, but she took it to the hilarious extreme.
Others scenarios were more unusual, but just as funny. The graduation ceremony for an erotic literature writing course had Gauthier as a student forced to read his work out loud, in front of a date no less. It was cringe-worthy and hysterical all at the same time.
Although the show had no real overarching framework or theme, there were some bits that recurred several times throughout the performance to great comedic effect. For example, the monks kept coming back, getting funnier and funnier with each appearance. The Sketch Betch folks also seem to have a particular affection for the movie Grease. The film makes its way into multiple scenes in surprising ways, culminating in a rehearsal of the final song of the movie like you’ve never heard it before.
Sketch Betch has only been performing together for about a year. From what I’ve seen so far, I look forward to seeing what they do next.
- Life’s a Betch plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George 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.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
- Thursday July 6th, 08:45 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 12:00 pm
- Monday July 10th, 10:15 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 12:00 pm
- Friday July 14th, 04:00 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 05:45 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 07:30 pm
Photo of Nora Saliken, Miguel Gauthier, Eitan Shalmon, and Katharine O’Brien by Kevin Maheux