Sunday, July 10, 2011

SEX, RELIGION and OTHER HANG-UPS: Time in Dating Purgatory is Pure Fringe Heaven

It was CHRIS GIBBS day for me at the Fringe yesterday. I saw both shows he's associated with in Toronto on Saturday: "Sex,Religion...." which he directed and THE SOAPS in which he was a participant.

"Sex,Religion..." is a young man, James Gangl talking about his quest for love. He starts the show by saying he's looking for a girlfriend.

Mr. Gangl then goes on to explain he's been raised as a devout Catholic. St. Genesius, the Patron Saint of Actors must certainly be smiling down on him.

Mr.Gangl is an extraordinarily gifted performer,both hilariously funny and deeply affecting. His script rises head and shoulders above most of the material I've seen in this genre,which I refer to as "the relationship show". He and Mr. Gibbs have given the play a sturdy structure,a wonderful series of emotional twists and turns and some terrific sight gags. The marriage of their talents is match made in well, Heaven.

I usually avoid plays on this topic like the plague. I have plenty of my own horror stories from the dating trenches. However,I liked this so much I'm going to take others back to see it: assuming I can get a seat. "Sex, Religion..." is in a small theatre. Get a ticket while you still can. Mr. Gangl has spun the dross of his love life into Fringe Gold.

THE SOAPS certainly also benefited from Mr. Gibbs considerable gifts for improv comedy last night. The premise: a theatre company at the Shawford Festival is a good one. This is a charming trifle of an amusement created nightly by NATIONAL THEATRE OF THE WORLD, an adept company of improv comics. The sold-out house was eating out of their hands.

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