Saskatoon Fringe Reviews, Day 2: Superb storytelling and stand-up comedy

The 2022 Saskatoon Fringe Festival runs from July 28 to August 6, 2022. (Supplied / Saskatoon Fringe Festival poster)

The 2022 Saskatoon Fringe Festival is here, and there are 18 live and in-person shows gracing the festival stages.

Check back every day for PodSask’s reviews of Fringe festival shows throughout the weekend!

You can see reviews from Day 1 here.

Show Title: Daddy’s Boy

What we loved: If you could ever give out the a “master storyteller” award at the Fringe, Erik de Waal would be the odds-on favourite. 

It was easy to tell de Waal has significant Fringe experience when watching his show “Daddy’s Boy.” A brilliant and touching tale about de Waal’s relationship with his father — who slowly succumbed to Parkinson’s Disease — this was a masterful combination of heart and humour. 

Writers are often encouraged to “paint pictures” with their words. de Waal is so good at painting pictures with his words it’s almost visceral. From his father “changing his diapers” with the help of a garden hose, to being there with him during the late stages of his father’s battle with a terrible disease, de Waal’s perfectly detailed descriptions were incredibly engaging throughout.

de Waal’s storytelling merged flashbacks to his formative years with flashbacks of his father’s Parkinson’s treatment, with both stories moving forward separately until overlapping and colliding with each other. It’s a brilliant device to move the piece along.

What we didn’t love: de Waal stumbled over a word here or there during his performance — but it didn’t slow him down one iota, so who cares? This is what you need to go to if you want to learn how to craft and perform a one-person show.

The show starts slowly, but builds up its themes of respect and dignity and finding meaning in life at a steady clip. It’s not even fair to say that it ended too quickly, because it was so well-paced.

Verdict: If there was ever a question as to whether we need international performers at the Fringe, de Waal’s performance should put it to rest.

“Daddy’s Boy” will get the tears streaming — maybe from laughing, or crying, or both. Whichever way, it’s a can’t-miss show at this year’s Fringe.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Matt Olson

Show Title: Look Ma, We’re on Broadway!!

What we loved: The Funny Bone Schmomedy Zone is back with more stand-up comedy than ever.

“Look Ma, We’re on Broadway!!” is the title given to the comedy troupe’s series of performances featuring talented local comedians. Every night features a different group of comedians with a plethora of jokes for the audience.

Friday night’s performance included five comedians, each with a distinct comedic style that helped break up the length of the hour time slot nicely.

There were two standouts that deserve mention: Ryan Moccasin and Shannon Mallory. Moccasin’s fast-paced and often brutally biting comedy hit home with the small audience repeatedly, and he seemed comfortable making slight adjustments on the fly.

And Mallory’s performance of both self-deprecating and downright absurd humour was filled with witty quips and relatable jokes that drew some of the biggest guffaws from the crowd.

What we didn’t love: It’s always the risk you run with stand-up comedy: sometimes the jokes land, sometimes they don’t. Of the five comedians in the line-up on Friday night (not counting host Danny Knight), some of them were hitting the mark with much more regularity and ease than the others.

There’s not a lot to be controlled there, either. A variety of comedians and a variety of audiences means some nights are just going to go better than others. More than 20 different comedians taking the stage in different configurations means it’s impossible to know what the next show will hold.

Verdict: Unquestionably, these are some incredibly funny folks. Many of the jokes flying at the Broadway Theatre on Friday night were both hilarious and excellent social commentary.

But with a wide variety of performers in the schedule for the week, it’s hard to predict what any other show will have in store.

Come for the comedy — knowing that, well, you’ll never know for sure what you’re going to get.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ✩ ✩

Matt Olson

The Saskatoon Fringe Festival runs from July 28 to August 6, 2022. Information for all shows, tickets, and the full festival program can be found at 25thstreettheatre.org/saskatoon-fringe/.

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