GAME SHOW by Jeffrey Finn and Bob Walton, directed by Walton, with Peter Nelson, Ramona Milano and Steve Ferguson. Presented by Michael Rubinoff in association with Jeffrey Finn Productions at the Jane Mallett (27 Front East). Limited run, Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday 8 pm, Friday 5:30 and 9 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $40-$45. 416-366-7723, www.stlc.com. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The off-broadway novelty hit Game Show combines the pizzazz of a TV game show with the sexual shenanigans and backstabbing of a soap, all presented with the excitement of - you guessed it - a reality show. How realistic is it? If you wave your hand vigorously enough, or make eye contact with the show's roving host, Troy Richards ( Peter Nelson ), you can "come on down" and try to win actual prizes.
The feeling of being at an actual game show is emphasized by Graham Maxwell 's brightly coloured set, complete with applause lights, buzzer-equipped podiums and working cameras (TV monitors are placed throughout the theatre, so you can watch the show as if you're at home).
Shortly after arriving, we're also coached on how to be a good audience and introduced to the behind-the-scenes players, from the camera guys to the line producer to the warm-up act.
After Richards - a suave talker who's got his eye on more than good contestants - plucks people from the crowd to compete, the actual game show begins, and it's predictable enough. Trivia questions, post-answer banter, that sort of thing.
It's during the show's so-called intermissions that the plot kicks in, which combines sex, lots of phone calls and a pretty convincing twist or two.
The performances are solid, and it's an entertaining way to spend an hour and a half. For what it's trying to do, Game Show works pleasantly enough.
Keep in mind that it's the kind of show that needs a big house - the crowd's energy and participation is crucial. On the other hand, with fewer people your chances of walking away with the big prize improve.