Marc and Xave are ex-engineer students who have found a way to mix music, comedy and nerdom into their show: Marc and Xave: Song Engineers by Xave Ruth at the Toronto Fringe Festival. These two best friends embrace nerd culture in a way you may have never seen before…through song.
Let me start by saying these guys are endearing with a lovable form of awkward charisma only two ex-engineering students can have. Marc (Marc Tyndel) is the more introverted of the two, playing the keys behind a passion-filled frontman, Xave (Xave Ruth). They have great chemistry with a brotherly love connection you know took years to forge.
Some bright spots in the show are: “I Don’t Party That Hard,” an ode to those less interested in partying and more interested in dancing with friends in a closed-in systematic loop, ie. a circle. The use of lighting and electronic sounds in this song were show stopping! Another stand out moment was the song featuring a strange wiki mind loop which put me into a comedic existential spin. I never knew math and science could go so deep.
Another great moment is the Gregorian chant set to lyrics which are determined by the notes of a basic musical scale. Meaning there’s a lot of DAD, GABE, BABE etc. Marc and Xave craft a story based on this principle and the result is innovative and hilarious!
The style of the music is comedic, a style made popular by artists like Weird Al Yankovic, Bo Burnham and Tim Minchin to name a few. Although the music itself has some catchy choruses that I was finding myself tapping along to, it seemed hard to catch a lot of the humour. The songs go rather quick. And although there is a lot of funny material, it seemed to be lost, sometimes because of a lyric flub or an awkward pause. The humour is pretty dark, which I am all for, I mean what nerd isn’t full of angst? But I feel like certain gags and jokes just didn’t deliver.
All in all, I feel like Marc and Xave are the best friends we all want to be. Their nerd-thusiasm (if it’s not a word, it is now) is contagious, and their music, pretty darn catchy. However, the speedy lyrics and unsure delivery left me wanting more from these engineers.
- Marc and Xave: Song Engineers plays at the Factory Theatre Studio. (125 Bathurst St.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Mature language; Audience participation.
- The Fringe Festival considers this venue to be wheelchair-accessible.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 7:00 pm
- Friday July 6th, 9:15 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 4:15 pm
- Monday July 9th, 5:15 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 2:00 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 9:00 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 12:15 pm
Photo of Marc Tyndel (left) and Xave Ruth (right) by Peter Rainmondo.