Don’t let the ‘Audience Participation’ warning keep you away from Butt Kapinski, (Kapinski Enterprises), playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival. I hate audience participation but I loved it here. It goes way beyond participation; the entire audience is part of the show. Tonight we were terrific. Of course we had Deanna Fleysher to direct us. She’s amazing.
Fleysher is Butt Kapinski, a film noirish private eye, complete with trench coat with a turned up collar and a built-in streetlight. Oh, and a speech impediment. I know, I shouldn’t laugh at a speech impediment. It’s possible that it was the least of the things I shouldn’t have laughed at tonight. Pretty much nothing is off-limits.
I don’t think that anyone in the audience had any idea going into the theatre how involved we were going to be in the performance. People relaxed and got into the spirit of the piece very quickly; a testament to Fleysher’s ability to make them feel safe. And to not give them a choice, to move very quickly so people were responding before they realized it.
The story, loosely speaking, has Butt trying to solve a number of murders. He moves through the city, from the shanty towns to the corridors of power, talking to his contacts; whores, cops, abusers, drug addicts, a taxi driver. In the end he identifies the murderer and turns them over to the cops.
Although it’s the same story each time, every performance will be different because it relies so heavily on the audience and their willingness to join in the make-believe. It’s audience immersion and what the audience gets back from the show depends on how much they put in to it.
Fleysher takes a huge risk every time she performs the piece.
Tonight’s show was terrific. We were a great audience.
Pay attention to the content warnings but don’t worry about audience participation, it’s great fun. The show is funny and silly and you should go see it. It’s unlike any one-person show you’ve seen before.
- Butt Kapinski plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave.)
- 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: Unsuitable for Minors, Sexual Content, Audience Participation, Nudity, Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive early for evening shows.
- Wednesday July 5th, 07:00 pm
- Friday July 7th, 10:45 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 01:45 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 06:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 12:00 pm
- Friday July 14th, 03:30 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 09:15 pm
Photo of Deanna Fleysher by Mihaela Bodlovic