You can’t have a proper Fringe Festival without some improv comedy. And you can’t have an improv comedy show at the Toronto Fringe Festival without the Bad Dog Theatre crew. Toronto, I Love You, their current Fringe offering, is an unexpected and guffaw-worthy ode to the city we all adore in varying degrees.
Based on audience suggestions or their own experiences, the Bad Dog Repertory Players use Toronto’s diverse set of landmarks and neighbourhoods as the inspiration for this long form improv production. From there, they build characters and storylines in the context of each location. Since everything is completely unscripted, you could see this show every night of its run and have a completely different experience. For example, last night’s settings were Wychwood Barns, the Downsview Airport and Sushi on Roncy with a cameo from the city of Sudbury.
I’ve seen the Bad Dog Repertory Players tackle popular culture parodies aplenty, but have never seen them pull material from something a little closer to home. I think the result serves as something a little more personal, oddly touching at times, unconventionally grounded, but still absolutely hilarious.
I’ve always been impressed with the way the Bad Dog cast can create a number of scenes out of nothing, switch between them effortlessly, and then bring them full circle to a natural conclusion. This show also has some great musical accompaniment thanks to the lone guitar of Nicolas di Gaetano.
If you’re just visiting Toronto for the weekend, are new to the city, or just don’t get out and about much, you might have some trouble understanding some of the references used. That being said, it won’t be enough to keep you from enjoying yourself or laughing your tush off.
This one was sold out last night, and considering the fact that every night is a completely revamped performance, I have a feeling they’ll be looking at sold out shows throughout their run. If you’re into improv done well, this one is a must.
Toronto, I Love You is playing at Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79 St. George St.)
July 06 at 03:15 PM
July 08 at 06:30 PM
July 09 at 09:15 PM
July 10 at 06:00 PM
July 11 at 12:00 PM
July 13 at 07:30 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
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of the Bad Dog Repertory Players by Julie Osborne.