Comedy troupe We Are Sports presents Carpe into My DMs, now playing at the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival. This sketch revue meditates on the meaning of social media and interconnectedness in the wake of the apocalypse.
When I first read the description for this show, I will admit I had my doubts. Poking fun at how the internet negatively impacts us has become a common theme in comedy – in my opinion, a bit of an old one! I feel like it’s hard to say anything new about the topic. On the other hand, We Are Sports delivers many fresh takes on the theme.
Firstly, the troupe does not limit themselves to the most obvious cases of social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). They also take on Tinder, 23andMe, and Air BnB, to name a few. Their jokes also don’t rely on common critiques of social media. Instead, they are seamlessly woven into the absurd situations created by the troupe. It should also be noted that social media is not the sole focus of the revue. The troupe tackles other topical issues like the rising cost of living, white feminism, microaggressions, and the gig economy, doing so with the same creativity noted above.
The show feels well-directed by Second City mainstage alum Alastair Forbes. The sketches are weaved well together with smooth transitions, and I felt like the performers are all playing to their strengths. The show feels thematically consistent, and recurring appearances from a few characters lend the show greater cohesion than other sketch shows I’ve seen.
Matthew Hallworth’s lighting design is simple, yet effective, allowing the jokes and sketches to take centre stage. David MacIntosh’s musical direction provides the show with well crafted musical numbers that tie the whole show together.
MacIntosh is on stage for the whole show, playing piano for the musical numbers and controlling the music in between sketches from a laptop. I feel like his presence on stage was unnecessary. There are minimal interactions between him and the actors, the musical cues do not seem to depend on improvisation, and I felt periodically distracted by his laptop screen. I can appreciate that the presence of a musical director may give any show a more theatrical feel, but with only three musical numbers it seems unnecessary. I wonder if a recorded track of the accompaniment (and music controlled from the tech booth) would have done the same job. I also wonder if I may have appreciated his presence on stage if he — not just his music — was actively incorporated into some of the sketches.
We Are Sports is a solid ensemble; every member made me heartily laugh at least once. I feel like a few actors performed with slightly more sincerity than others, namely, Ramsay Alwani, Jacob Hogan, Sue Marenick, Stephen Mashalidis, and Renée Strasfeld.
Overall, Carpe into my DMs is worth watching. I had a smile on my face for most of the show and am more than pleasantly surprised (given the subject matter) by the unique writing. If you’re looking for some incisive, comedic relief to our dark times, this may be the show for you.
- Carpe into my DMs plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina 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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: mature language; sexual content; not recommended for children.
- This venue is barrier-free. Note that only certain building entrances are wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in front of the front row.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Wednesday July 3rd, 6:30 pm
- Friday July 5th, 10:00 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 6:45 pm
- Monday July 8th, 2:45 pm
- Wednesday July 10th, 8:30 pm
- Friday July 12th, 1:00 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 4:00 pm
Photo of Lambert Featuring Alex Bondesen, Dylen Michael Guiry by Sabina Olivia