Fringe review: Clip Show revitalizes solo sketch format

clip show fringe 2022
Photo by Jon Blair

CLIP SHOW written and performed by Jon Blair (Jon Blair/Toronto Fringe Festival). At the Factory Studio (125 Bathurst). July 12 at 6 pm, July 14 at 7:45 pm, July 15 at 1:30 pm, July 16 at 4:15 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN


Jon Blair, a veteran Fringe performer and comedy show writer (This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Because News With Gavin Crawford), revitalizes the solo sketch format with this clever, irreverent hour of new and tested material. Not everything works, but Blair, like the best alternative comics, is always trying to do something different.

The premise is that he’s about to perform his Fringe show upstairs at the Factory Theatre Mainspace, but he’s stuck in the basement (i.e., the Factory Studio); the door’s locked, the elevator’s broken and the security guard has gone home… because it’s Christmas. So, like all contrived premises in long-running TV series’ “clip shows,” he recalls past scenes, and acts them out for us in between escape attempts.

Standout sketches include his high-energy take on the song The Boys Are Back In Town, in which he recounts all the ways the boys leave and then return; his Dragon’s Den pitch for a portable potato warming device, which he’s tweaked because he’s just found out his son has been kidnapped; and his by now classic sketch about a rapper who’s been banned from performing because all his songs are about horses.

And there’s a slo-mo axe scene that hilariously emphasizes the difference between film and live theatre.

There are many self-referential jokes in the show; if you’re a frequent Fringer, the pre-show announcement alone will get you laughing. Blair even makes fun of the “third act vulnerable” cliché of the comic-turned-solo-Fringe-artist.

Grounded, clear and precise, Blair is at the peak of his powers.

@glennsumi

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