Fallsview to a Kill (part of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival) is an improvised pastiche of James Bond: six actors play supervillains, mooks, heroes and badgers as S.M.A.S.H Agent Brent (Jon Blair) works to thwart Dr. Thompson’s sinister plan to seize not just Niagara Falls, but the entire greater Golden Horseshoe.
And it works! Concept-oriented Fringe Improv is a field littered with shows that had great concepts and zero follow-through; this company knows their stuff and deliver the goods. It’s polished, it’s beautifully paced, and it all hangs together beautifully.
Instead of relying on the concept alone to carry the piece, the company have devised an assortment of scenes: the M Scene, the Q Scene, the capture, the chase, and so on. This keeps the action going and eliminates a lot of the filler which otherwise creeps in, while still leaving room for audience suggestions, unpredictable ideas, and actors trying to mess up their cast-mates.
I was especially drawn to Kat Letwin, who plays M as a mid-century Katharine Hepburn, and to Jon Blair as the lead agent, carrying the show on the shoulders of a deeply questionable velvet tuxedo. (I also need to give a shout-out to whoever wrote that under-appreciated intro/outro song!)
At opening night, they got some pretty useless suggestions — and still followed through, bringing it all back together by the end. When you see it (and you totally should!), throw them a bone. After all, there’s no shortage of evil people, places and things in Niagara Falls: just ask the cast of 2015’s Everyone Loves Sealand.
- Fallsview to a Kill plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. (79 St. George St.)
- 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; Gunshots.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Friday July 6th, 3:00 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 7:00 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 2:45 pm
- Monday July 9th, 2:45 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 11:00 pm
- Friday July 13th, 5:45 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 12:00 pm
Photo of Jon Blair by Paul Aihoshi.