Tarragon Theatre and Theatre Passe Muraille

Fringe 2008 - Day 1

And the Fringe, ladies and gentlemen, is upon us! We are presenting you with our first batch of reviews from the very first day of the festival:

Adam Growe's The Mom and Pop Shop

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this show, but whatever I expected, this wasn't it. The show is essentially a one-hour stand-up comedy routine with some elements of a play, not the full-on one-man show I expected. It was good stand-up, not a surprise really, since Adam Growe is a veteran stand-up comic.

Oh, and don't worry, you don't have to have had kids to appreciate this (as evidenced by me), but I bet you appreciate it on a whole different level if you do have them. Kids or no kids, if you're looking for some good laughs, check this one out. Oh, and just so that you can gauge how busy it might be, tonight's show was sold-out, which I think is pretty rare for a show on the first night of Fringe.

"Adam Growe's The Mom and Pop Shop" plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace July 5, 7, 10, 12, 13. Check the Fringe site for details on show times.

by Megan Mooney

After the jump are reviews for "Nan Loves Jerry", "Phat Love and The Thin Girl", "Rum and Vodka", and "Wooster Sauce".

Nan loves Jerry

So, one of the things that keeps Fringe-goers on their toes is, nothing is written in stone here. Take for example the fact that, for the duration of the festival, "Offensive to Some" has been replaced with "Nan loves Jerry" (still presented by Newfoundlandartistx).

The show is hard to describe. It's funny, but it more than that. It has a bit of heart-breaking thrown in the mix. The show is thick with what I imagine are "Newfoundlandisms" but don't let that deter you. I may not have gotten every nuance, but I did enjoy it. In fact, this would have been a great show if it were about 30 minutes long. An hour felt a bit too long, of course even though it felt a bit long, I absolutely think it's worth seeing.

"Nan loves Jerry" is playing in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace July 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13. Check the Fringe site for details on show times.

by Megan Mooney

Phat Love and the Thin Girl

"Phat Love and the Thin Girl" is a funny and dynamic one-woman show. There is nothing controversial here, it's a solid accessible show that you could happily go to with a parent, a grandparent, your teenage sibling, well, you get the idea. For me, sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered. I will admit, when the piece started I was worried I wasn't going to enjoy it, it felt a bit flat in the beginning.

Luckily it didn't take Tara Duffy long to find her stride. The show fluctuates between reenactments of the character's experiences with speed dating, and storytelling. It's a nice mix and keeps things moving. Duffy delivered the piece with passion and drew the audience in. Enough passion t.hat I couldn't help but fall a tiny bit in love with the character.

"Phat Love and the Thin Girl" is playing in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace July 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13. Check the Fringe site for details on show times.

by Megan Mooney

Rum and Vodka

This show could have been titled "Ramblings of an Alcoholic" - and I don't mean it in a bad way. Matthew Gorman is quite convincing as a young Irishman who is recounting his drunken adventures of the last three days - interrupting his hour-long monologue only to take small sips from a pint glass. (A pretty clever way to add to character development as well as, probably, make talking loudly for sixty minutes slightly more pleasant for the actor's throat.)

While quite entertaining in places, the production left me slightly underwhelmed overall because the comic content alone did not justify an hour-long play, and the drama, I felt, lacked the punch somewhat. Yes, drinking will not help you run away from your problems and can lead to a lot of other problems: e.g., you can lose your job, betray your family, and puke all over yourself. Um, what else is new?

"Rum and Vodka" plays at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space July 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13. Check the Fringe site for details on show times.

by Tatiana Kachira

Wooster Sauce

If you are familiar with the British television show Jeeves and Wooster, then you probably know whether you will like this one-man production in which John D. Huston plays a young, wealthy and clueless bachelor Bertie Wooster, his spectacular valet Jeeves and a whole slew of other characters from the carefree 1920's.

Watching Huston instantly transform from one character to another is quite a delight. On the first day of the production the venue was not even half-full, but I hope that changes, because I thought the show was well worth my time (especially after the very noisy air conditioner in the little Glen Morris Theatre was mercifully turned off by the staff).

"Wooster Sauce" plays at the Glen Morris Theatre (Fringe Venue 12) July 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11. Check the Fringe site for details on show times.

by Tatiana Kachira

Photos: Tarragon by Radey Barrak and Theatre Passe Muraille by sandy kemsley.

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