Review: The Pageant (Bad Dog Theatre)

The PageantImprovised show, different every night, is “unstoppable” on the Toronto stage

Bad Dog Theatre is no longer an underground phenomenon: they’ve established themselves as the place to be if you’re young, kinda broke, and want to hang out with some friends. Beer is sold by the bucket, tickets are dead cheap, and the place is positively bursting at the seams with scruffy twentysomethings.

This is the second year they’ve graced us with The Pageant, and it’s a damned good thing they’ve brought it back. By the end of it, audiences are pissing themselves with laughter, awkward first dates are visibly going smoother, and the energy in the room tells the whole story: Bad Dog are onto something great.

The Pageant is a fully-improvised Very Special Episode of an imaginary sitcom, with a new setting and scenario every evening, culminating in a from-scratch singalong pageant. The cast changes slightly every night, but the core company are rock solid, and director Evany Rosen has them running like a well-oiled machine.

Any improvised show which can get the audience to sing along is clearly doing something right, and the way the company plowed through some genuinely terrible crowd suggestions is a sign of the professionalism audiences can expect from Bad Dog: these performers are unstoppable.

And bring friends for the best effect: this stuff is made to be shared.


  • The Pageant runs through December 19th at the Bad Dog Theatre. (875 Bloor St. W., second floor above the post office.)
  • Performances are nightly on Friday at 8:00 and Saturday at 9:30.
  • Tickets are $12 ($10 for students) and can be purchased online or in-person from the box office. This is an extremely small venue, and advance purchase is strongly advisable.
  • This is not an innocent family pageant: it will get scatological. MoT recommends it for ages 15 and up.
  • Be aware that reaching this venue involves climbing a steep staircase and navigating a narrow corridor.

Show poster provided by the company.