My Theatre

11 July 2019

Toronto Fringe, 2019: Part XI

By // Theatre (Toronto)

photo by John Gundy

Take a look at our full list of 2019 Fringe reviews HERE.

I, Malvolio (B+)
Justin Otto’s performance in I, Malvolio is powerful. If you can take anything away from this review, let it be that. Otto demands the audience’s attention from the moment they enter the room. There is an air of chaos about Otto’s Malvolio and if you look away for a moment, you are bound to miss something. Otto has the unenviable task of balancing Malvolio’s rage, madness and despair, all while humouring the audience, and for the most part he is successful. I do wish they had brought the concept of the show, a student preparing for the role of Malvolio, in from the very beginning of the piece. It seemed to become an element about half way through and just felt a bit like an afterthought. I, Malvolio is engaging due to Otto’s relationship with the audience. He connects with them immediately, wins them over (all while claiming to be revenged on us all) and has us rooting for him to get his justice.

The Astrology Play (B)
Mercury is about to retrograde, and everything is about to be thrown off kilter. It is this premise that sets the audience up for an hour romp, filled with Mean Girls-esque humour, musical numbers and few surprises. I think the highlight of the play is the ensemble’s chemistry. Their connection and ability to play off each other really shines throughout the play. They continually push the story forward, always trying to keep one step ahead of the audience. Sometimes, the staging felt like it got lost in the energy of the piece and there are some sight line issues if you are sitting in the front row. Overall, The Astrology Play boasts a great script and a cast that keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.

Carpe Into My DM’s (B-)
The apocalypse has happened. Millennials are the primary survivors and are trying to navigate this new world they find themselves in. That is the world of Carpe Into My DM’s. Over the course of the hour, the audience is taken on a tour of this world through a number of sketches. One of the strengths of Carpe Into My DM’s, is how many topics it is able to address in the hour, from dating to children still living with their parents to political correctness, the troupe moves seamlessly through these different topics and delivers some great, laugh out loud moments. At times, there were a few sketches that dragged, and it felt like the performers were not a hundred percent committed to the bit. My favourite part was the musical numbers, they delivered some of the funniest moments of the show. The entire company attacked these moments and milked them for all the laughs they were worth.

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