Fringe review: Gremlin Hour

Kids Fringe show deals with serious themes and gets big laughs for children and adults

GREMLIN HOUR by Alex Kolanko (Kerploding Theatre/Fringe). At the George Ignatieff. July 7 at 3:30 pm, July 9 at 11 am, July 11 at 2:30 pm, July 13 at 10:30 am, July 14 at 4:15 pm. See listing. Rating: NNNN

Kerploding Theatre returns to the Kids Fringe following up on last years’ hit TRUNK!

Gremlin Hour opens with a relatable premise: a girl named Hazel (Hana Holubec) doesn’t want to go to school, but the reason why is not often explored in a children’s show. Hazel feels broken and she’s struggling to fit in. Help comes from two gremlins (Bryce Hodgson and Liz Johnston).

The production stretches beyond its serious theme and inspires great big giggles. Playwright Alex Kolanko stocks the script with all sorts of hilarious misunderstandings, secrets, silliness and gross-out humour (additional joke writing is by Chris Leveille).

Director Molison Farmer adds in physical comedy and keeps the action moving at a speedy pace. The cast fully engages the audience, never pandering, and often prompting young viewers to shout out reactions and share ideas.

Oh yeah, there’s also a third (uncredited) and rather cranky gremlin who occasionally chimes in with hilarious retorts that will especially appeal to the adults.

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