Fringe Review: 18 Imaginary Places To Visit Before You Die



Helen Phelan Gardiner Playhouse

See show info here

Rating: NN

The Fringe can be a great place for aspiring comics to break out. There’s certainly talent in the cast of 18 Imaginary Places To Visit Before You Die, but they need to sharpen their writing skills before they put on another show.

It opens with the four writer/actors at an airport wearing, for some bizarre reason, Disney character costumes. Do they work at an amusement park? It’s never addressed. After some confusion about luggage (I think someone must have forgotten a line), they’re plunged into an alternate universe, or heading to death, or something. Again, it’s unclear, which is death for any sort of comedy.

Thus begins a series of uneven sketches. Fabio Abreu and Chris Gilholm play two chest-thumping bros at a Chinese buffet, a scene that begins with pointless, meandering bluster, momentarily gets our interest then ends badly a sketch about overworked employees takes forever and really says nothing then a scene in which a CBC TV business reporter (Damien McElvanna) keeps getting photobombed (videobombed?) by a woman (Maya Cieszynska) finally gets some laughs.

One of the sharpest sketches is a send-up of mindless morning talk shows in which the hosts (Gilholm and a dead-on Cieszynska) interview God (McElvanna). The “End Of Days” clip is a highlight of the show. And a nicely directed bit about speed-dating, another great showcase for Cieszynska, hits its satiric targets and begins to show a point of view.

But there’s too much filler, and, as with many new sketch troupes, they don’t know how to land their scenes. Director Ken Hall makes good use of the space, but can’t help them out in that department.

To paraphrase a certain absurdist classic, this show is essentially Four Actors In Search Of A Writer.

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