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Photo: Vince McMillen

Fringe Review: A Brief History of Petty Crime

By Jennifer Cavanagh on June 18, 2018

A Brief History of Petty Crime
by Jimmy Hogg

58 min / Storytelling, Comedy, Drama / PG

When is a car crash not a car crash? When you’re watching it via the medium of comedian raconteur Jimmy Hogg. If you read no further, know this: A Brief History of Petty Crime is must-see theatre at the 2018 Ottawa Fringe.

Hailing from Plymouth in coastal south-west England, Hogg acquired thievery skills and ethos from his father. Their crimes more of an impish “getting away with it” two-fingers up from the working class versus a get rich scheme. He opens with a family outing that ends with the pub’s beer-garden bench adding a rustic touch to their yard, and we’re off.

At the core of many tangents is a car-crash as a joyriding license-free Hogg with best friend Chilli (sp?) by his side plows headlong towards a round-about in this fast-paced, physical show. Despite a manic edge, Hogg’s timing, action and storytelling are far from erratic, each move is well chosen pulling the audience along to where he needs us emotionally to be. Whether we’re laughing at the sound a deer does, or doesn’t, make, watching his hilarious pantomime of running high through the woods or making eye contact with his dad from the depth of his mother’s embrace this is a master class in comedic story-telling.

A thoroughly enjoyable hour Hogg dishes cutting asides to hecklers with a charming degree of authentic and surprisingly engaging warmth as he breaks script. He capably threads difficult content as the necessary counter-balance to mirth, without preamble or foreshadowing, as in the first hilarious then horrific retelling of a Robin Hood-esque thwarting of a police line-up or adeptly navigating the minefield of drink driving.

The writing is gold and the performance is ace with extra points for a natural exuberance, that I’d like to see more of, when Hogg breaks character. With only three shows to go, now is the time to book in for the unmissable A Brief History of Petty Crime.


A Brief History of Petty Crime by Jimmy Hogg is playing in the ODD Box at Arts Court (2 Daly Ave) until Saturday June 23, 2018. Tickets cost $12. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.


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