People Suck

peoplesuckcastphoto2People Suck is a new song cycle by Peter Cavell and Megan Phillips that explores the theme that human beings are, inherently, annoying, antagonizing and highly skilled at the art of pissing one another off. It is a hilariously cynical musical perspective on human interactions in the contemporary world.

From guys who flake on dates, to all the office drama, people who use God as an excuse to be assholes, the gross and weird strangers on the TTC and the perfect people with perfect lives who have horseshoes inserted up their butts, Phillips and Cavell have a cheeky and cathartic musical number rant to address it all. The songs are really strong, especially in the construction of their overall arc and the ability to get Cavell and Phillips’ message out, while remaining true to the very melodic musical theatre genre. Some of the songs, like Connor Thompson’s Grammar Nazi rant, and “Where the Hell Is Darwin When You Need Him?” led by Ashley Comeau are lighthearted and silly, while others tackle more complex issues, such as the idea that being an asshole can be advantageous to success, and also that trying to control people’s behaviour, to starve off the sucky things people do, can, if pushed to the limit, also cause Fascism.

The cast, Thompson, Comeau, Phillips and Allison Price and Arthur Wright, have great comedic sensibility, great panache and entirely serviceable voices. Kerry Griffin directs the show very clearly in the style of Second City shows, which serves the material well. The worlds of Toronto musical theatre and comedy (and Fringe) have merged together before to achieve greatness, with The Drowsy Chaperone, and I think People Suck has the potential to make an even stronger crossover into the world of musical theatre. If there were to be a remount of this production, it may be interesting to bring in a director from the musical theatre community and for Cavell and Phillips to work on making their music a little less pastiche of already existent musical theatre songs, and to find their own distinctive sound.

In all People Suck is fun and joyful and,despite it’s title, it doesn’t actually shatter any faith in humanity.


5_Star_Rating_System_4_starsPeople Suck plays at Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:

show times
July 09 at 05:15 PM  buy tickets
July 11 at 11:00 PM  buy tickets

The Orchid and the Crow


daniel tobias

The Orchid and the Crow, which plays through July 11th 2015 as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival is a heartfelt and funny true story of Daniel Tobias’ testicular cancer diagnosis, melded with rock and roll and hilarious tales about Australian Jewish atheism.

The play begins with a rock and roll love song about the romance of two bacon-loving Jewish atheists, who would go on to have a son, named Daniel. One of the funniest moments in this show is Tobias’ Circumcision song, which is followed by a great Passover story. In fact, The Orchid and the Crow is back-to-back, laughing out loud, joyful hilarity, until Daniel suddenly gets a pain in his tummy, which leads to a diagnosis of testicular cancer, surgery to remove one of his testicles and a cycle of chemotherapy. At this point, in attempt to keep himself motivated Daniel turns to cancer-survivor Lance Armstrong, who, in a way, provides this Jewish, Australian, atheist with a God-like figure.

Tobias has a talent of being able to oscillate, within seconds, between complete silliness, and then poignant seriousness, which doesn’t cause the audience’s emotions to yoyo uncomfortably, but, instead, to be really endeared and captivated by the juxtaposition. There is a beautiful sense of triumph at the end of this piece that will make you very grateful that Daniel Tobias is here and singing to us a catchy little tune about balls.



The Orchid and the Crow plays at the Al Green Theatre (750 Spadina Avenue) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:

show times
July 10 at 11:30 PM  buy tickets
July 11 at 05:45 PM  buy tickets

Let’s Start a Country

gerard_harris_al_lafranceLet’s Start A Country, which plays at the Tarragon Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a communal, theatrical experience in which an audience works together to create their own country, separate from Canada, with guidance from Gerard Harris and Al Lafrance.

The concept is a fun one and Harris and Lafrance are affable enough that they are able to motivate a group of strangers to really come together and engage and play along. There are some great elements here, the idea of creating our own flag, and there are really interesting anecdotes about small groups of people who have achieved independence from a larger nation.

Yet, there is much unexplored potential for this show. As Canadians we are all familiar with the concept of Separatism and this play gives ample opportunity for Lafrance and Harris to offer a biting satire of Canadian politics— offering the audience reasons why they should want to leave Canada (Stephen Harper, Mike Duffy and Justin Bieber being three obvious examples) and then also exploring the very real challenges that emerge once a small group of people have attained their sovereignty. There is a little bit of that in this show, but the stakes don’t feel real enough.

It’s a fun Fringe game, but it doesn’t leave the audience with a strong, lasting impression.


5_Star_Rating_System_3_starsLet’s Start a Country plays at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman Avenue) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:

show times
July 10 at 12:00 PM  buy tickets
July 11 at 06:15 PM  buy tickets
July 12 at 04:00 PM  buy tickets

Here Lies Chris


chris wilson & peter carlone

Peter N’ Chris’ Toronto Fringe show Here Lies Chris, which plays at the Randolph Theatre, is a hilarious and joyful sketch comedy show that tells the story of Peter, who accidentally kills his friend Chris, and devotes himself to travelling to far off dimensions searching for another Chris to replace him.

The result is a hilarious assortment of scenes that build on one another, on the expectations of comedy and of sketch, that further explore Chris and Peter’s friendship and take us to imaginative places and silly scenarios, with a lot of heart and adept exuberance.

Peter Carlone brings a sweet earnestness to the urgency in this quest to find another version of his best friend, and as he is thrown into scenes with movie battlefield Chris, shitty Toronto Chris, and Electric Chris, the audience becomes more and more invested in finding a suitable Chris and bringing him into our own dimension so they can live happily ever after. Chris Wilson’s sassy goofiness serves him well in the playing of various versions of himself, and also, as it turns out, two different versions of Peter.

The physicality in this show is infused with energy and super-precision, the ideas explored in each sketch build nicely on each other creating a extremely satisfying whole and lots of laughter.



Here Lies Chris plays at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street) as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival at the following times:

show times
July 09 at 09:15 PM  buy tickets
July 10 at 03:30 PM  buy tickets
July 11 at 07:30 PM  buy tickets

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