HerBeaver (HerBeaver) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Mallory Morgan, Katie Preston, and Heather Gallant in HerBeaver

HerBeaver is a sketch comedy show (with some musical comedy, too) featuring Heather Gallant, Mallory Morgan, and Katie Preston, three self-professed feminists. It’s playing at Factory Theatre Studio part of 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival

The troupe members tackle issues such as politically correct culture, gender-based violence and sexual agency. They skewer a few popular television series and they aren’t afraid to be silly and absurd throughout.

There were four sketches that stood out for me. The timing and number of jokes are perfect for an extended blackout where two friends try to order cocktails but are blocked by the server, a social justice warrior. A Toronto Tourism employee’s first day on the job showcases Katie Preston’s gift for physical comedy. Also great at physical comedy is Heather Gallant, especially as a nonverbal client in a therapy session. Mallory Morgan plays the smarmy host of the game show Find That Smell, a totally relatable way to spend a few minutes on public transit.

I believe, however, that HerBeaver’s show in its current iteration might be better suited for a licensed cabaret space with harder chairs rather than a black box theatre with soft(ish) seats like the Factory Theatre Studio. The show felt too small for the Studio stage, perhaps owing to the troupe’s experience performing at more intimate comedy venues. The sketches also felt like they’d been rehearsed in front of the troupe’s fans, and not in front of strangers. Testing material out in an unfamiliar environment is a surefire way to discover whether it has legs.

In my opinion, the sketches in this show could be punchier, with more developed beginnings, middles, and ends. The scene changes could use some finesse and choreography. I found that overall the show would benefit greatly from an outside director with strong dramaturgical skills and a keen sense of comedic timing and physical comedy.

HerBeaver is for a younger audience looking to discover an up-and-coming sketch troupe. I’m very excited to see them develop their craft.

This review is based on the Thursday July 4th preview performance of the production.

Details

  • HerBeaver plays at the Factory Theatre Studio. (125 Bathurst 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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: mature language; gunshots; sexual content; not recommended for children.
  • The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
  • 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.

Performances

  • Thursday July 4th, 6:45 pm
  • Saturday July 6th, 3:15 pm
  • Sunday July 7th, 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 9th, 9:45 pm
  • Wednesday July 10th, 6:15 pm
  • Friday July 12th, 8:15 pm
  • Saturday July 13th, 2:45 pm

Photo of Mallory Morgan, Katie Preston, and Heather Gallant by Nicholas Postumus

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