Fishbowl (Sarah Olmstead) 2012 Toronto Fringe Review

Fishbowl, was the first show that I saw this year as part of the  the 2012 Toronto Fringe Festival, and I have to say it was hilarious. It’s always a little nerve racking for me going in to my first Fringe show considering they can sometimes be a little hit-or-miss, but this one definitely doesn’t miss.

This is a one-man show written and performed by Mark Shyzer, who plays four distinct characters, two male and two female. I love the way the show starts out. Shyzer introduces each character by changing his costume and his voice so we can get a feel for who they are.

Shyzer defines the characters so well in the beginning that even though there are no costume changes past the introduction at no point did I feel lost or confused about which character he was playing. 

The characters are all really quirky and even a little stereotypical which makes for a great comedy. There’s an overachieving physics-obsessed high school girl; an old dying man; a woman who married a gay man; and my favourite – a somewhat privileged, bratty teenager – who all share a connection.

My show partner tonight, who has never been to a Fringe show, loved this show and couldn’t stop talking about it even after the next show we watched. He did win a free T-shirt though so maybe that had a little something to do it with.

All in all, this play is a lot of fun so get out there and catch a performance. The show is going on the road after the Toronto Fringe and aiming to hit eight cities this year so they need all the support they can get to make it happen.


  • Fishbowl plays at Venue 8, The Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79A St. George St.)
  • Show times: July 04 06:30 PM, July 06 08:45 PM, July 08 01:30 PM, July 11 11:00 PM, July 12 07:45 PM, July 13 01:45 PM, July 14 03:30 PM
  • All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 79A Saint. George Street. (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
  • Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows

Photo of Mark Shyzer by Tanja Tiziana