FRINGE QUICKIEFRINGE QUICKIE
Like the pressure of creating under the gun? The Fringe of Toronto holds its 24 Hour Playwriting Contest again this year, with the winner receiving $500 and a reading on the festival's final night. Two other scripts get cash awards. On July 4 at 7 pm, participants are given four objects, locations or situations that must figure in their scripts; the finished works are due 24 hours later. Applications are now available -- there's a $25 fee -- but don't wait. Only 40 playwrights can participate. 416-966-1062.
LESS IS FUNNIERLESS IS FUNNIER
Maybe comics are so hungry for stage time, when they finally get a show to themselves they want to stay there as long as possible. That might explain Dave Tomlinson's overlong and uneven Things Under The Bed, which closed last weekend.
Tomlinson's a talented character comic who's supremely easy on the eyes. In fact, one of the show's best bits exploits his looks, as his arrogant character rants about how he's been discriminated against by the comedy world, with its "rich legacy of ugly."
There's truth and subtext here, as there is in bits about a sleazy modelling agent, a boy obsessed with a musical and -- most brilliantly -- a character cut from Tomlinson's show. This is solid social satire.
Too bad Tomlinson didn't cut more. A sketch about a guy dating Superman runs out of steam, a promising bit about a child's doll goes nowhere, and the opening and closing segments need serious dramaturgy.
TASTY LUNCHTASTY LUNCH
Todd's Lunch: The Musical, which closed last weekend, is a tasty treat full of B-movie clichés about what happens when a sketch troupe splits up and one of them heads to L.A. It's silly, unpretentious fun, with a clever structure and at least three set pieces -- a car scene that nails the gender gap, a stand-alone bit about anal sex porn and an audition with duelling fat comics -- that are downright hilarious. A guilty pleasure.