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Fringe Review: On Demand

By Brenda Dunn on June 19, 2016

60 minutes | Improv, Comedy | PG

It’s a good year for improv at Fringe. On Demand, comprised of the Elgin St. Improv troop, is doing their part by creating a full 45+ minute show in a different genre each night. I happened to go on Sci Fi night and my review may be utterly meaningless because as Kristine Shadid warns the audience, what takes place each night will never, ever happen again. This review may suffer as well because it is hard to take notes when you are laughing so hard you can’t see.

Paul Piekoszewski’s dry delivery and rapid-fire wit as the inept scientist make him the proud deliverer of the most consistently funny lines in the show. He reads as a seasoned performer with a sense of timing and an ability to move any scene forward. Shadid makes some spectacular physical comedy choices throughout. Her range of characters would benefit from a little less reliance on gag accents as a cop/yeast monster/hysterical ’50s housewife. She’s at her best when playing the voice a bit straighter and letting her wit and uncannily quick response time shine through.

Straight man Darcy Smith knows his niche and contributes some fantastically muttered, hapless one-liners alongside a hilariously shrill Patrice-Ann Forbes who makes herself the best kind of ridiculous as the frightened girlfriend trope. Leslie Cserepy bounces from the ill-fated captain of the football team, to the fraught anthropology teacher and is another player who knows how to bring a scene together when it’s floundering. Their pianist Zac Duval contributes some great sound effects including an involuntary guffaw or two.

If that sounds like a laundry list of seemingly unrelated characters, well have no fear. They’ll be doing something utterly different in their subsequent shows and you should elbow your way to the front of the line for every single one.

On Demand, La Nouvelle Scène, 333 King Edward, Sunday, June 19, 3:30 p.m.; Tuesday, June 21, 8 p.m.; Thursday, June 23, 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 25, 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12.