TO Fringe Review: The LOVE Octagon

Toronto – I will now use this space to express my unending adoration for pretty much everything Ron Pederson and Chris Craddock produce, much like I usually do.

<gushing and fawning praise goes here>

Ok, with that out of the way, their new show The LOVE Octagon, really is very good improv. Pederson and Craddock, with Waylen Miki providing atmosphere music on the keyboard, start the same way many an improv show begins: by getting suggestions from the audience. Only here, instead of getting names of settings and occupations, they take audience stories about love. Breakups, heartbreak, even stories of people who are happy and in love.

With the character names and setups they get from these stories, Craddock and Pederson spin four stories about love that interweave, go in bizarre directions, and are just generally hilarious. The two will drop a scene when it gets stale, move to one of the other three storylines, then come back to the characters again later on without missing a beat. Watching these two improv masters keep all four stories going with little more than a few cues written on a whiteboard and the occasional out-of-character conference to the side of the stage that’s often as funny as the in-story action is amazing.

In the show I saw, the audience provided plenty of inspiration, particularly one guy in the front row who said that he and his girlfriend broke up because he felt that they were going to grow apart, a phrase the two came back to in some variation repeatedly. Like a lot of improv shows, LOVE Octagon occasionally goes off the rails a little, with the occasional mimed blowjob gag and Jesus turning up in one scene with an English accent and trying to have a threesome with two young Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Mostly, though, it’s just great improv from two masters, and one of the best bets for laughs at the Fringe.

The LOVE Octagon plays at Venue 10. Check your Fringe program or the online play listings for showtimes.

Posted on by Brian in Fringe, Reviews, Theatre

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