Fringe review: Sketch T-Rex marks a triumphant return

Sex T-Rex's nerdy sensibility and refreshing look at gender produce some smart and deeply funny sketches


sketch t rex fringe 2022
Photo by Paul Aihoshi

SKETCH T-REX written and performed by Conor Bradbury, Julian Frid, Kait Morrow and Seann Murray (PLP Productions/Toronto Fringe Festival). At the Factory Mainspace (125 Bathurst). July 11 at 4:30 pm, July 12 at 7:30 pm, July 14 at 10 pm, July 15 at 8:15 pm, July 16 at 4:30 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN


Like hundreds of other Toronto sketch comedy lovers, Sex T-Rex’s Toronto SketchFest show Sketch T-Rex was one of the last comedy shows I saw before the pandemic hit. Now it’s back, expanded, updated and funnier than ever.

In past shows like Swordplay and D&D Live!, the troupe has hilariously embraced and sent up genre tropes. That nerdy sensibility lends authenticity to sketches about aliens, superheroes and Hitchcockian thrillers. But the company always tweaks premises in absurd and unexpected ways. What if Wile E. Coyote went home for Thanksgiving dinner? What if a hammy Southern lawyer defended a mass-murderer because he knew the jury wanted to hear more episodes of a true crime podcast?

That last character is played by Conor Bradbury, who once again is a show standout, whether he’s doing it his way as a bombastic Frank Sinatra attempting to sing songs about every city in the U.S. or exuding straight white male privilege as a completely undeserving superhero named Confidence Man.

Bradbury’s Confidence Man contrasts beautifully with Kait Morrow’s extremely competent non-binary superhero. In the show’s most theatrical sketch, Morrow plays a James Bond-like figure whose journey is a lot more complex and exciting than the typical screen version, their pet cat coming through with some major moves.

And Bradbury and Morrow pair up for another winner, a subversive sketch about a father who doesn’t want to put too much pressure on his son during the kid’s first time playing baseball. This sketch, and one riffing on Billy Elliot, make satirizing stereotypical gender roles deeply funny stuff.

They might not do well in Florida (there’s a great one-liner about that), but they should kill everywhere else.

Sketch T-Rex are part of NOW’s 10 artists to watch at this year’s Fringe. See the full list here.

@glennsumi

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