Those Shoes That Light Up (Dame Judy Dench) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review


There may or may not be an underlying thematic connection between the various sketches of Dame Judy Dench’s Those Shoes That Light Up at the Toronto Fringe Festival, but as the show songs suggest, forget about it. The point here is the comedy.

Consisting of Jessica Greco, Claire Farmer, Chris Leveille, Shannon Lahaie, Gavin Pounds, team Dame Judy Dench deliver a fun night.

After what I considered a rocky start, Those Shoes That Light Up quickly transformed into a laugh-out-loud show once it found its footing.

Several sketches were welcome for their fresh take on familiar issues. I’d even say some—the bathroom confession and the getaway scenes come to mind—had similarities to The Kids in the Hall: whimsy combined with politically biting commentary. The group’s distinctive voice, which appeared in specific sketches, makes me wonder what they can do in the long term and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more from them on the horizon.

As a whole, the group worked well together but I have to praise the women of Those Shoes That Light Up. Greco, Lahaie, and Farmer managed to mine old stereotypes for comedy gold. I may be biased, but it is refreshing to watch three hilarious women tackle toilet humour, anti-marriage cynicism, and murder. In particular, Lahaie’s expressive face and great timing easily drew some of the biggest laughs of the night.

Not all comedy shows feel quite as unexpected as Those Shoes That Light Up. I’d recommend this show for someone looking for comedy that has a few new zingers and might very well be the start of something great.


Those Shoes That Light Up plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79 St. George Street).

July 05 at 12:00 PM
July 07 at 05:00 PM
July 08 at 03:00 PM
July 10 at 07:45 PM
July 11 at 09:15 PM
July 12 at 03:30 PM

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.

 To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo right to left of Chris Leveille, Jessica Greco, Claire Farmer, Gavin Pounds, Shannon Lahaie by Paul Aihosh