Three Old Bags was a delightful surprise. After noticing that it was 90 minutes long, and reading Pat Donelly’s description that it was not yet a fully functioning script and 15 minutes too long, I almost skipped it. Three Old Bags turned out to be one my favourites among the 10-or-so shows that I saw this year.
The Three Old Bags each had wonderfully rich and funny characters. The script was delicious and the acting fantastic. Too bad these ladies are hiding out in Lac Brome.
And the audience! I can’t think of another show that was enhanced by audience members talking to each other during the show: “What did she just say?” “She said Depens.” “What’s that?” “It’s a diaper, Harry!”
The show opened with some clowning that didn’t quite work, but once the story began, those 90 minutes flew by.
This gets a: Highly Recommended
I don’t really know Barry Smith, but seeing his show every year gives me insight into the person. He’s so homey and familiar, it almost feels like visiting a friend. While you may not identify with his specific neurosis–documenting his life by saving every marginally relevant photograph, bill or piece of paper–you may identify with his passion and obsession in general terms. I mean, I can tell you if I had Pepsi on any given day over the past 1.5 years. To me, Barry Smith is inspiration. I’m going to start saving those Pepsi cans.
This show gets a: Recommended
Balls! is a 2-man play about the stages of loss, the strain on friendships, and the utter despair experienced when being diagnosed with testicular cancer. The show attempts to convey these serious messages in a candy-coating of comedy to make the whole thing more easy to swallow. While I appreciate the intent and the effort that went into this show, the script and delivery were not funny. Lame masturbation, pornography, ball and yo-momma jokes abounded. I mean, really.
This show gets a: skip it.
Given that everyone of a certain age has nostalgic reminiscences of the original Degrassi, this show was bound to be a huge hit right out of the blocks. From Start Wars to Cobra to Napoleon Dynamite, there is a long tradition of using pop culture as inspiration for a Fringe Show. I’m just waiting for Jem Rolls and the Holograms.
The show programme states “It’s an homage, people!” That’s exactly what this show was, no more, no less.
It consisted largely of name-dropping infamous name and events in Degrassi history, while making little attempt to tie everything together. Despite great costuming, some nice moments when Yick and Heather were introduced, and the hilarious portrayal of Wheels, the show, script and musical numbers didn’t aim as high as I would have liked. (Couldn’t the Zit Remedy have played their own instruments, for instance?)
Next year, I hope they re-assemble the cast and focus on telling one classic Degrassi story, not 3 seasons stuffed into 32 minutes.
This show gets a: What did you expect? It’s an homage, people!