Shaw Performing Arts Centre (Venue 9), to Saturday
The buzz about local sketch-comedy quintet Hot Thespian Action — that they’re worthy of a TV series — is justified. Their hour-long show of past audience favourites, as well as a few new sketches, is an imaginative triumph that especially displays their physical-comedy prowess and musical-parody chops.
Transforming themselves into preening birds, grunting cave dwellers, a woman’s uterus or female robots who talk — hilariously — like trashy party girls in synthesized voices, they’re priceless. (Just a warning that there’s some profanity.)
Shannon Guile, Jacqueline Loewen, Garth Merkeley, Ryan Miller and Jane Testar can all sing and dance impressively. Their number celebrating every woman’s gay best friend puts Saturday Night Live in the shade, and a Marvin Gaye take on procreational sex is kick-ass clever.
A few conventional sketches, like one about cellphone rudeness, don’t rank with their wildly creative best. Guile doesn’t match the others in voice projection and should lose the hair bangs that put her at an expressive disadvantage. But there’s no show of hands needed here: Winnipeg votes to export these guys to the comedy big leagues.
— Alison Mayes
From the official Fringe Festival program:
Winnipeg's sketch comedy wunderkinds are back to show off their best assets. An hour of audience-chosen favourite sketches from years past. See why, after the Winnipeg Comedy Fest 2011, the Free Press declared, "If what they accomplished at this year's fest doesn't make them huge Canadian stars, there's something not at all funny going on in this country's comedy biz."
Recommended For: General Audience
Length: 60 min.
Under 13 not admitted.
Warnings: Subject Matter, Language