Oh my Doug…what did I get myself into. These were the words that crossed my mind about 3 minutes into The Worst: a DoFo Inspired Musical at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. I was convinced that I would have to give it a negative review, but that sentiment slowly, but surely turned around by the end of this ad hoc Fringe show.
This show stars two Fringe newbies, Astrid Mrkich and Nicolas Zehr, two actual lawyers who applied to Fringe on a whim and now need to figure out what their show should be about as to not waste their participation fee. It’s a Fringe show about writing a Fringe show, kind of in the same vain as “Title of Show“.
They hem and haw over different possibilities and play with concepts like having a lip-sync off a la Drag Race or turning their Fringe show into a spin off of the Price is Right. It’s pretty silly stuff and I ended up buying into the meta madness at the last 15 minutes when Astrid and Nicolas sang a medley of their favorite musical theatre songs. This is where the show picked up speed and started to fulfill the “musical” promise that was presented in the beginning. Though they aren’t the most “seasoned” singers, they still pull off this medley with pizazz. Think dorky aunt and uncle drink too much punch at the reunion and act out every song from RENT.
There were quite a lot of times where both players would fumble their lines or would pause to remember what they were supposed to say. This took away from the “two friends just hanging out, writing a show” vibe that (I think) they were going for.
I really just wanted them to have more fun up there, that’s kinda what the show was about for me. Two friends just having a ball, low-key throwing in the towel and just doing whatever the heck they want and if they want to sing show tunes. They should sing show tunes! No apologies!
Both Astrid and Nicolas are already so likeable, it’s just the lack of preparation and nerves that might be holding them back from full, Fringe domination…
This review is based on the July 5 preview performance of the production.
- The Worst: a DoFo Inspired Musical 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 (275 Bathurst St.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: mature language; audience participation; not recommended for children.
- 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.
- The Toronto Fringe Festival is scent-free: please do not wear perfumes, colognes, or other strongly-scented products.
- Friday July 5th, 10:00 pm
- Saturday July 6th, 5:00 pm
- Sunday July 7th, 4:30 pm
- Monday July 8th, 7:15 pm
- Tuesday July 9th, 6:45 pm
- Thursday July 11th, 1:00 pm
- Friday July 12th, 7:00 pm
- Saturday July 13th, 9:45 pm
Photo of the cast supplied by the company