The Funky Punckies (STARS AT WORK) 2016 Toronto Fringe Review

The Funky Punckies, by STARS AT WORK is playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival as part of FringeKids, a fun show that helps kids learn about punctuation.

A writer, who we later learn is named Paragraph, or Passage, is visited by characters such as Full Stop (he prefers not to be called Period); Comma (she affects falling into a coma when offended); Exclamation Point (she just wants to party); and Question Mark (a child who asks a litany of questions, just as a real child does.)

Other punctuation marks make an appearance, such Semi-Colon (as I’ve just used above), Colon and Quotation Mark. Some of my favourites were missing – the em dash and ellipsis – but this is a show for kids so the colon and semi-colon are probably advanced enough, and more characters would make the show hard to follow and the stage too full.

The conflict is about the relative importance of each punctuation mark. Full Stop thinks he’s obviously the most important as he finishes every sentence, but each makes their case about what makes them special. As they begin to find a resolution, they have everyone in the audience yell out “I like myself!” This is one of the rare instances of audience engagement in the show, but as someone who was quite insecure as a child it felt powerful. I liked it the more for having been phrased as a natural outcome of English language punctuation, not some feel-good self-esteem throwaway.

My kid isn’t quite the right age for this at not-yet-four, but he wasn’t too bored to pay attention (though he did yell at the stage to “stop that!” when they were arguing: he really likes everyone to get along.) However the age range on the show listing says 8 to 12 which I think is too high. There were some folks in the audience who looked around 6 and were grasping the basic language concepts. If your kid is starting to read, I think they’d enjoy The Funky Punckies.


  • The Funky Punckies plays at the George Ignatieff Theatre. (15 Devonshire Pl)
  • Tickets for FringeKids shows are $5 for kids (age 12 and younger); adults pay $12.
  • Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • The George Ignatieff Theatre is wheelchair-accessible, and has wide aisles for easy mid-show exits.
  • Don’t miss the FringeKids club located on the lawn adjacent to the venue! Free activities for children (3-12) and caregivers run every day of the festival: see website for details.
  • Content Warning: Audience Participation.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.


  • Thursday June 30th, 04:00 pm
  • Friday July 1st, 12:00 pm
  • Sunday July 3rd, 02:30 pm
  • Tuesday July 5th, 01:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 6th, 10:00 am
  • Friday July 8th, 04:15 pm
  • Saturday July 9th, 11:45 am