Full Body Pull (Haggard B) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Gillian Bartolucci

Full Body Pull is when you pull every muscle in your body at the same time. It’s also a funny one-woman sketch show by Haggard Bitch Productions, playing at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.


Even the idea of this muscle medical anomaly sounds both hilarious and a little unsettling, which is a good way to describe the range of humour in this show. Canadian Comedy Award winner Gillian Bartolucci sweats through 50 minutes of sketch comedy, taking the audience all the way from high-energy belly laughs to more thoughtful moments about mother-daughter relationships.

Moms. We love them, then we hate them, then we grow up and realize they’re human too. If your mom has ever been late picking you up from school, and I know she has, you’ll relate to the show’s star, who thinks her mom doesn’t care about her when really, her mom is just doing her best. Bartolucci engages in a little comedy self-therapy by alternating roles as her (fictional?) self and her mother, as well as an assortment of other characters. I especially love the nosy neighbour who has even more to snark about the mother’s parenting than Bartolucci herself.

There’s a little bit of everything in this sketch show – singing, character work, audience participation. There’s a wig doing a stand-up routine – yes, you read that correctly. There’s a dance competition sequence, and I love a jazz routine anytime of the day. The great thing about sketch comedy is that even if a particular scene doesn’t work, another one will be by shortly, but most of Bartolucci’s sketches work. She has a great energy and throws out observational zingers in every scene.

There was a minor tech glitch at the performance I saw, which I hope works for the rest of the Fringe run, though Bartolucci handles any mishaps like a pro. So, I guess there’s improv in this show too! The only true negative is that Full Body Pull takes place at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, which can be hard on both your back and your sweat glands – but at only 50 minutes, you can be back at the Fringe tent within the hour cooling off with a beer… and calling your mom to tell her you love her.

Details

  • Full Body Pull plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (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.
  • Content Warnings: Mature language; Audience participation.
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in the front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Thursday July 5th, 6:00 pm
  • Friday July 6th, 3:00 pm
  • Sunday July 8th, 8:00 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 9:15 pm
  • Tuesday July 10th, 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 10:00 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 7:00 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 1:00 pm

Photo of Gillian Bartolucci, by Marshall Lorenzo

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