Endearing and childlike, Jimmy Hogg grips the audience and brings them down his zany, tangential rabbit hole of childhood stories and misdemeanors. Energetic to the point of falling off-balance, Jimmy Hogg: A Brief History of Petty Crime is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Jimmy Hogg: A Brief History of Petty Crime is exactly what you expect it to be, and exactly what it needs to be: an endeavor into the life of Jimmy Hogg and his strange experiences breaking the law — but only a little. Every aspect of a good one-person show is present here: good physicality, an interesting story, a likable character.
There is a lot to be praised in Hogg’s performance; his voice and command of the stage are notable, and he has absolutely no issue filling the space and incorporating hilarious and witty physical comedy into his act. Most mistakes and fumbles made were acknowledged and recovered from with skill and charm, and looped back into the main story.
Something that personally affected my investment in Hogg’s performance was his accent and slang; some words and even phrases were lost on my Canadian ears, unable to distinguish their meaning. What also pulled me out of the moment was how far away Hogg chose to place his water glass, which he continually walked across the stage to drink from. These are relatively small gripes.
Unfortunately, a fun story is weighed down by awkward breaks, set, and self-aggrandizing. What ultimately pulls Hogg’s performance down are the constant tangents and fourth-wall breaks that are largely uninvited and undeserved, especially nearing the end of the show. A Brief History of Petty Crime starts off strong, as Hogg builds momentum and a sense of investment in his story. But it is almost as if the farther along the story we get, the longer Hogg’s tangents become. What began as hilarious derailments slowly devolved into random digressions, during which I found myself wishing the story could just progress unimpeded.
Overall, Jimmy Hogg: A Brief History of Petty Crime is an entertaining look into Hogg’s wild adolescence that is weighed down by excessive tangents that persistently interrupt the flow of his story. It is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace until Tuesday, July 10th.
- Jimmy Hogg: A Brief History of Petty Crime plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. (16 Ryerson Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the very front row.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 10:30 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 3:30 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 2:45 pm
Photo of Jimmy Hogg provided by company