Fringe Fest 4

After my disappointment with yesterday’s play I decided to stick with comedy today and went to two early evening shows.

Midlife:  The Crisis Musical was the first of the two that I saw.  More revue than true musical it presents a series of vignettes involving various people as they deal with the onset of midlife. The show features three male and three female performers and contains 17 short musical numbers of which the personal comedic highlights were Weekend Warriors, where the three male performers gather in the gym to recall past athletic glories that never really were and think of future glory that will never be.  A Trip To The Doctor, with its song-and-dance mammogram routine, Some Kids, which is about parents dealing with adult children who have trouble leaving home, and What Did I Come In Here For, dealing with advancing memory loss.  He Got What He Deserves and Classical Menopause also generate a lot of laughs.

At the same time, When He Laughs, and The Long Goodbye, add a touching element to the show, the former, which was sung by Deb Rogalsky and was the musical highlight of the show, is a wife’s appreciation for her husband as he ages, while the latter focuses in on adult children dealing with the inevitable diminishing that comes to their parents.  The final song, I’m Not Ready, offers a hopeful embrace of midlife.

The six member cast, consisting of:  Alana Penner, Deb Rogalsky, Mitch Krohn, Scott Plett, Simone Pamplin and Tom Buller, is strong and no one member overpowers the others.  Mitch Krohn does a particularly noteworthy job in the spoken and physical acting parts, although as a singer he would be better of with a vocal line pitched a little lower.

I would rate the play 4/5 stars.  It is playing at the Prairie Theatre Exchange Main Stage, 3rd Floor Portage Place, Tickets $10.  Definitely worth going to see.

I had originally intended to go from this play to StarBach’s the Musical, but found out when I arrive in the Exchange District area that it started at 6:00 on Monday, so when I ran into a friend, I decided to join the group he was with and go see When the Killer Mutant Lizards Attack.  I figured this would be a reasonably safe choice as I have seen Brent Hirose, writer, producer, director, star in and Billy Bishop Goes to War.

Having said that, I think safe choice is a good description for the play.  Part comedy, part morality play, Mr. Hirose takes on all the roles of the various people who have survived the titular attack, as he relates their stories and what the effect has been on them.  The ultimate effect won’t be seen until the very end of the play.
There are a number of genuine laughs sprinkled throughout the play, but it doesn’t go to deeply into the implications of the effects of the attack in particular the ultimate effect.

As for the characters themselves there is a little bit too much of a muchness about them in Mr. Hirose’s delivery.  A change of pace in his manner of speaking from character to character would alleviate much of this.  Also, while the use of the overhead projector to visually display the action was well-done and quite funny, it had the feeling of a device, in this case one less technical, that has been overused in many of Mr. Hirose’s productions, and hopefully future plays, and Mr. Hirose does leave one hoping for future plays, will move away from this device and look for other ways to visually grab his audiences attention.

3/5 stars, The Conservatory, 211 Bannatyne Avenue, Tickets, $10, $8(matinee).  While not a can’t miss show, still a more than pleasant diversion, particularly if you are looking for something a little different from the other plays you have seen.


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