TO Fringe Review: The Soaps

Toronto – Have you ever been a regular at a long-form improv troupe’s shows? It can be great fun. The setting and characters stay the same from week-to-week, storylines emerge and involve, characters are killed and others come in. Generally, the really good part of the cast drives the plot and comes up with really funny scenes and the rest of the cast members just sort of tread water around them.

The episode of The Soaps – The Live Improvised Soap Opera that I saw felt like a lot of the best cast members were missing. Colin Mochrie made a guest appearance, but of the seven improvisers on stage, only he and Scott Montgomery really impressed.

Maybe it was just not the best episode, because I can see how the setup could make for some very funny improv. The action is set at the “Shawford Festival,” and the associated actors, stage managers, support staff and fans are all trying to put the shows together as best they can, despite the untimely death of a couple of the lead actors. There’s lots of sleeping around, plotting, and associated mayhem you might expect.

But despite Mochrie’s guest appearance, this episode was really lacking a couple of regulars who could push the plot forward. Instead there were a lot of fairly one-note characters. Maybe it’s because some of the cast members listed in the program, like National Theatre of the World’s Ron Pederson and Chris Gibbs, weren’t around, presumably working on the other Fringe productions they’re involved with.

It was pretty hit or miss, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you told me you saw them on a different night and they were great. The episode I saw, however, was a bit disappointing.

The Soaps – The Live Improvised Soap Opera plays at Venue 3. Check your Fringe program or the online play listings for showtimes.

Posted on by Brian in Fringe, Reviews, Theatre