The Buzz – Reviews

The Smallest Stupid Improv Show

The Improv Company—Alloway Hall – Manitoba Museum

Can improv be done as a one-man show? Stephen Sim is here to test that theory with his smaller version of the Big Stupid Improv show. A veteran of the improv scene, Sim’s years of experience flourish here as he seamlessly plays all the parts himself while putting together the entire show with no help. It’s hard to believe it’s not a scripted show with Sim never missing a beat through this tight 45 minute show. The improv itself was great but the show did lack the frantic energy improv shows normally have. The energy is usually due to the various actors having to figure it out together on the spot. The energy wasn’t as high as I would have liked but I still found myself laughing lots. A neat concept explored by a very talented improviser.

Kaitlyn Kriss

A is for Anxiety Apples

B12 Theatre Productions—CCFM – Antoine Gaborieau Hall

The cast of four do a good job in showing how anxiety affects people differently. In a series of short scenes they cover just some of the fears and physical symptoms that one who suffers anxiety can experience. There is enough humour to balance out the serious side, with a short stand-up bit and when some of the cast personify anxiety making life difficult on other cast members. One of the most important scenes to me was demonstrating how mental health issues are not taken care of properly or promptly by our existing emergency care system. Both informative and entertaining.

Murray Hunter

I Lost on Jeopardy

So Lonely Productions—Alloway Hall – Manitoba Museum

What do you do when your big moment comes and doesn’t go as planned? Do you give up and become bitter or choose a different narrative. This is the essential question at the heart of George Buri’s one man show recounting his time losing on the show Jeopardy. This inspiring tale was jam packed with cool behind the scenes moments of Jeopardy and nerdy jokes. George knows a lot about everything, which might prove for an insufferable personality; but he is so charming, you root for him every step of the way. An engaging and heartwarming story that is sure to connect with everyone. A wonderful gem to sit and listen to.

Kaitlyn Kriss

Teaching Shakespeare

Doctor Keir Co.—Planetarium

Keir cutler’s monologue show observes a Shakespeare professor in the middle of a nervous breakdown desperately trying to reach his students after receiving a series of bad course evaluations. Unfortunately, the professor is beyond help in this parody of bad education. The play was interesting and raised some fun points about the Bard’s greatest works. Keir is clearly passionate about the subject of his play and critical of his colleagues who so often butcher teaching the Bard. While I understand this was a parody, I did find that parody became reality as parts of the play seemed to drone on. I felt like I was at a lecture which was the point of the show. This made it hard to sit through the very wordy piece in front of me. I was often lost throughout the show.

Kaitlyn Kriss

Sidetrack Bandits Sketch Comedy

Sidetrack Bandits—The Studio at Le Théâtre Cercle Molière

This show was delightful! I love sketch comedy for its ability to create short scenes of such commitment to a bit and a fun out of context nature. We never know what’s about to happen and we’re presented with scenes that very quickly take on such life and energy and hilarity. This group performs so well together and the ideas in this show were brilliant. They nearly had me falling out of my seat laughing and I loved it!! Go see these guys!

Calantha Jensen

Specimen Sherman

Dark Horse Theatre—Cre8ery

I love the writing talents of Mike Seccombe and Specimen Sherman was no exception. The script is witty, fast paced and has a delightful message by the end of it (something I was not expecting …although truth be told, I didn’t know what to expect!). The acting talent was wonderful – I fully believed the characters, and was rooting for all of them (except for the overlord dude … believed, but didn’t root for- sorry Karl!). This was an all around fun, well presented show. I look forward to future Dark Horse productions!

Siobhan Keely

The Sherlock Holmes Experience

The Best Medicine Productions—221B Baker St.

I just want to say to Shelby, thank you for creating this particular piece. Unique from other shows included in this festival, this is a self-guided, interactive scavenger hunt type mystery that audience members are given the opportunity to solve! Arriving at 221B Baker street (aka Pantages) audience members are given the material to help Sherlock solve a case! This can be done within the time slot specified in the program, or at the participant’s leisure. I love that it is a fun way to spend time between time slots while waiting for a show, it gets folks exploring the Exchange and working through the puzzle, and provides and element of intrigue and adventure to our days! I think it’s a brilliant idea and I hope to see more interactive things like this in the future.

Calantha Jensen

Generic Male: Just What We Need Another Show About Men

PUSH Physical Theatre—John Hirsch Mainstage

I was thrilled when I opened the program and saw that PUSH Physical Theatre was back with their multi-award winning show. Not generic in the slightest, a show by men for everyone explores the male psyche with a flair for acrobatic absurdity with sprinklings of heartfelt humour throughout.

I did find that this show created by Darren Stevenson and Ashley Jones benefited from the more intimate setting last year, but the story keeps the audience on their toes as notions of familial roles, and societal expectations are challenged throughout this 60-minute piece.

It is always a delight to see a show that is polished and probes the audience with questions you’ll be pondering well after the sun sets on this years Fringe season.

Stephanie Natalya


Gregoire Entertainment—Théâtre Cercle Molière

Amazing mental feats are at hand at Cercle Molière through talents of Patrick Grégoire. A very impressive show of mental fortitude. There were many moments of me going I don’t know how he did that. He did a variety of tricks using a good chunk of the audience. Most of the tricks I hadn’t seen before which was refreshing. The performer did have a schtick where he would ‘get something wrong’ then do a big reveal that he’d been right all along. This was cool the first time but it became tiresome after 3 or 4 times. Great tricks but it seemed somewhat sloppy with so many pretend failures.

Kaitlyn Kriss

The Magic of Chanelle Munroe Presents: 5 Ways to Kill a Magician

Magician and the Muse Inc.—Planetarium

I’ve seen a lot of magician shows in my life, many of them at The Fringe. Through those shows, there’s a lot of overlap and I’ve figured out the secret behind many of the tricks. That’s what I do: as a scientist, I
look for the explanation behind everything. Refreshingly, there are a lot of tricks here where I cannot provide a rationale. I can see how they’re executed but I cannot find the actual gimmick. I know—it takes the fun out of it for many people, but the fun for me is figuring it out!

Despite seeing all those magic shows, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anything like this finale before, and it’s spectacular. Even the jerkwater rubes who played with their phones through the entire show, put them away during the finale.

One final bonus: Munroe weaves the tricks into a pseudo-plot, and applies it to the Winnipeg context. She also gives a number of local statements, including the condition of our rivers because of pollution, and rather than defy death by biting a bullet, she tries to avoid the Winnipeg handshake (getting stabbed by a broken beer bottle).

I can honestly say that this is one of my all-time favourite magic or magick shows. It’s magically fun!

Ray Yuen