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Fringe Review: Best Picture

By Brenda Dunn on June 19, 2016

60 minutes | Comedy, Parody | Mature

To write the script for “Best Picture” you would need nothing less than an encyclopedic knowledge of film history. You will not, however, need more that a layperson’s familiarity to enjoy it.

This show is a rapid-fire series of gags, lambasting every film to ever be awarded the Oscar for Best Picture. That’s right. Every. Single. One.

From the moment the crowd files in to be welcomed to the “89th Oscars”, the three performers are energetic and physical in their humour. Paterson, Kent and Fitzpatrick all possess the elasticity of expression needed to make 60 minutes of impressions engaging. Kent in particular is also a strong vocalist and all three are able to carry a show tune or two when required for those rare musical interludes. This script is so densely packed with movie references that the die-hard film buffs in the audience make themselves proudly known by snorting in appreciation at seven-second intervals. The cast mercilessly pokes fun at the inescapable racism, classicism, and sexism of the industry, and even Shindler’s List ends up funny.

Sound queues seemed to be a little out of synch at times, but a tight production overall. Pulling this show off would require militant rehearsal and this cast clearly knows the drill. The staging and segues required to transport us through 88+ movie references (plus one Daniel MacIvor nod for the purists) is staggering. That’s more than a movie a minute folks, and while some get more stage time others a mere mention, highlights include a two-headed Clark Gable, Kramer vs. Kramer done with human ventriloquism, and the only Godfather scene I’ve ever found funny.

Award-winning chemistry and energy that I suspect to be the result of performance-enhancing substances. Well done.

Best Picture, Venue 3, Studio Léonard-Beaulne, 135 Séraphin-Marion, Sunday, June 19, 4 p.m.; Wednesday, June 22, 8 p.m.; Thursday, June 23, 8 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, 10:30 p.m.

Tickets $12