Let’s Go to the Phones
• 5 stars out of 5
• Stage 30, St. Basil’s Cultural Centre
One benefit of 38 years of Fringe in Edmonton is that the movement is responsible, at least in part, for attracting and retaining a core of absolutely amazing actors. This is evident at Let’s Go to the Phones, an improvised call-in show manned by the cast of The Irrelevant Show.
The cast varies night to night, but on opening night we enjoyed the talents of Mark Meer, Jana O’Connor, Donovan Workun, Peter Brown, Dave Clarke and special guests Chase Padgett and Jessie Gervais.
The formula sees real audience members grabbing a phone-shaped mic and calling in questions to an expert panel debating a random topic. The opening bit featured artificial plants, with Mark Meer as a poncy British professor with all the research, and Chase Padgett as a silk plant devotee whose obsession had gotten away on him.
Silk plants proved somewhat limited. But when an audience member shouted “Tupperware lids” as the topic for the next half hour, featuring Donovan Workun as Tupperware fan boy Larry Sturko and Jessie Gervais as wild Tupperware explorer, Richard Attenborough, the evening erupted into a festival of belly laughs. Topics such as lid wobble, off-brand Tupperware, and microwave melt gleefully grabbed audience attention.
Who knows what tiny, imperfect life experiences will be exploited in the next performance? But feel free to give in to the whims of this collection of brilliant comics. You will be richly rewarded.
– Liane Faulder