Review: Fast Food Follies (Unit 102)


Fast Food Follies is a hilarious account of a fast food chain’s reclaim to fame playing at Toronto’s Unit 102

What do a money-grubbing international burger conglomerate, a cyborg lawyer and two insomniac stoners have in common? Although these items sound like the basis for a great limerick, they’re actually the ingredients for Fast Food Follies – a show which chronicles one burger chain’s attempt to win back the hearts of their declining 30-something demographic.

Presented by Unit 102, Fast Food Follies is a collection of off-the-wall vignettes created by writers/ show performers Luis Fernandes and Jesse Ryder Hughes.

This was not a production for the prudish or the tame: the humour of Fast Food Follies was racy and lewd – and definitely geared towards a younger demographic. The fast-paced and in-your-face jokes really seemed to strike a chord with the packed house of this quaint little venue.

Whether it was off-the-cuff remarks about boardroom sexism or social commentaries about the perceived hopelessness of working in the fast food industry, no subject matter was off limits and no punches were pulled in this mostly situational and slapstick-based comedy.

Take one scene where a customer was explaining which toppings he wanted on his sub, for example – an obvious satire of so-called sandwich artistry.

“No tomatoes.”

“I will not be censored.”

And then there was the acting.

Perfectly in sync, the cast seemed to really enjoy putting on this production, often unable to complete their lines without cracking a grin here and there.  Each performer played multiple roles effortlessly and seamlessly, with no weak links whatsoever in this ensemble of seven.

The night’s standout performance was that of Jesse Ryder Hughes, whose most notable roles included a vegan turned burger connoisseur and existentialist burger artist – completely committing to each character’s persona.

Another outstanding performance was from Chloe J. Sullivan, whose most memorable characters were those of Parkdale hipster social media maven and a manically depressed frontline Happy Burger cashier. It takes real skill to get a boisterous round of laughter while channelling a suicidal hospitality services rep.

What made this play enjoyable was the fact that the entire cast was charmingly cohesive and played quite well off of each other.

Like the burgers this play is themed around, Fast Food Follies delivers comedy that’s quick, cheap and dirty – but inexplicably addictive.