Great Lakes 5 (running at the Toronto Fringe Festival) is an improv show set in the heist universe: the ringleader’s fresh out of jail, and he’s getting the old gang back together for one final job. The people, target and objective, are all up to you, so come ready: the fate of the greater Golden Horseshoe area is in the audience’s hands!
The cast (Bridget Cann, Scott Goldman, Andrew Haggith, Matt Nadeau, and Laura Ramoso) are at your disposal, and despite getting some real sweaty audience suggestions at opening night, stayed game and determined to keep this car on the road. And as with last year’s NNNN Fallsview to a Kill, the decision to use structured segments as supplements to pure improv is a vital part of their success: improv unavoidably leads to the occasional cul-de-sac, and this format helps them to break out of that tendency.
My highlights included Bridget Cann playing with genre conventions to give the audience what they (said they) wanted, Matt Nadeau eating several large hams as the arch-villain, and Scott Goldman finding ways to keep his character relevant to a series of events which seemed quite determined to shake him loose.
If you did see Fallsview, you know what you’re in for, and should be aware that there isn’t a ton of new ground here. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. And if you missed out last year, or you’ve just got a sour taste in your mouth from misadventures with audience suggestions (Fringe improv can be a bit of a graveyard some years), consider this show an entrée into what improv can be.
- Great Lakes 5 plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 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; gunshots; audience participation.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early for evening shows.
- 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.
- Saturday July 6th, 4:30 pm
- Monday July 8th, 8:15 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 6:45 pm
- Friday July 12th, 6:15 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 12:45 pm
- Sunday July 14th, 6:45 pm
Photo of Scott Goldman, Andrew Haggith, Bridget Cann, Matt Nadeau and Laura Ramoso by Paul Aihoshi.