Butt Kapinski (Kapinski Enterprises) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review

Deanna Fleysher in Butt Kapinski

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.

Details

  • 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.

Performances

  • 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

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One thought on “Butt Kapinski (Kapinski Enterprises) 2017 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Hi! I won the free tickets, and felt like I should do my part and provide my comments under the review!

    The problems of a detective solving murders doesn’t amount to a hill a beans in this town …

    Deanna Fleysher does this high intensity kind of comedy style, where she’s constantly moving around as Butt Kapinski who is creating a film noir detective movie right before our eyes. With some great physical comedy and a lot of audience participation.

    A lot of it. Seriously, there were like 5 people who didn’t end up getting tagged for something. The usher said, “The performer would like everyone to know, no seat is safe.”

    And it’s not safe in a good way. The participation is guided wonderfully by Fleysher as she provides you with options in a choose your own detective story kind of way. So while the main story changes, it’s not ranging too far afield from what could be there. Mix that with the great sense of comedy that Fleysher has and you’ve got a bunch of laughs throughout.

    When I went to see it, the ending hit me a little flat. Like there was a time constraint, and the “just a dream” option flipped the narrative script and didn’t hit on any of the comedic notes that it had been working for me before.

    But that’s fine! Why? Because you could get a different ending when you go? Or you may love the ending, a lot of the audience did. Or you can leave with that ending and still feel like everything that lead up to it was well worth the price of admission.

    This show has a lot of heart kid, which is sayin’ something in this town …

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