I got to The Magnificent Terrific Top-Notch Superb Show – produced by Ishi & Bishi and playing as part of Kidfest at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival – with barely any time to spare. That meant no time to find a kid and their adult and chat a bit and see if I could talk to them after the show. Which means that this review is entirely from an adult perspective; mine.
Galaxia (Holly Greene) and Gord (Michael Bennett Leroux) are putting on a variety show because they want to be turned into dogs and live on another planet. They were supposed to do it in their living room but Galaxia decided to rent a theatre so that they could have a bigger audience.
Periodically through the show a talking dog appears on the TV and gives them orders. They call him Captain Jax. He’s the one planning to turn humans into dogs and take over the universe.
Unfortunately Gord and Galexia aren’t performers or entertainers. Galexia had looked everything up but they haven’t rehearsed their acts.
Basically three quarters of the show is two actors acting as if they can’t act. And doing it well. So well that I found myself wondering if they were actually two people who didn’t have much, if any, stage experience but had decided to put on a show. Then I wondered if it was really bad improv.
They got a lot of mileage from ‘the word of the day’, something Gord really wanted and Galexia was against.
A sweet, young girl in the audience volunteered to help with a magic trick. I think she was about four. She was so good. She stood on the stage holding a hula hoop while Gord said he was going to get the gas so they could light the hoop on fire. Then Galexia said she was going to get the lion and left. The little girl had the best facial expressions and she kept standing there with the hula hoop until Galexia came back and said she forgot the lion and that they couldn’t do the trick.
There were a couple of other things that I liked but I really don’t want to give away the show, so I’ll just say that the sock puppet was adorable and the stand-up jokes made me laugh.
Then, for a variety of reasons, Galexia and Gord decided to have fun and to do the things they were good at. They were funny and engaging and imaginative. It made me wish that the whole show had been like that.
I know there was a lesson in the show but it seems to me that too much time was spent on the negative part and not enough on the positive.
Also, you know how some things can really drive you crazy? Some of the seats at the theatre are very squeaky. A kid was sitting in one and making it squeak. His adult didn’t say or do anything. After about 25 minutes another kid joined in. Their adult didn’t say or do anything either. That noise sets my teeth on edge and is very distracting.
I obviously had mixed feelings about The Magnificent Terrific Top-Notch Superb Show. The thing is, I’m not a kid. I’m not the target audience. I think it depends on your kids. The nine year old that usually comes to the theatre with me wouldn’t like the part where they acted as if they couldn’t act, but I’m sure there are kids who would like it.
- The Magnificent Terrific Top-Notch Superb Show plays at the George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl.)
- Tickets for Kidsfest shows are $5 for kids (age 12 and younger); adults pay $13.
- 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.
- Content Warning: Audience participation.
- The George Ignatieff Theatre is wheelchair-accessible, and has wide aisles for easy mid-show exits.
- Don’t miss the Kidsfest club located on the lawn adjacent to the venue! Free activities for children (3-12) and caregivers run every day of the festival: see website for details.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Thursday July 5th, 2:45 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 11:45 am
- Monday July 9th, 3:00 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 4:45 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 12:15 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 10:00 am
- Sunday July 15th, 3:15 pm
Photo of Michael Bennett Leroux and Holly Greene by Stephen Kew