Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: (Toronto) 2 for Tea (Fringe)

Clowning about in Chamomile
Improv-heavy physical comedy is a delicious cup of nonsense
by Christian Baines

To call out 2 for Tea on its lack of cohesiveness would be like dissing an emu for its inability to fly. That’s simply not the point here. Starting with a meticulous sequence of highly skilled physical comedy, 2 for Tea diverts into audience participation and improv, even whipping the audience into an impromptu rave party before it’s done. All this is cloaked within an obvious affection for British farce, even if the characters feel more ‘Little Britain’ than Oscar Wilde – or even Python.

But damn if it isn’t a bloody good time! Clowns Aaron Malkin and Alastair Knowles work the crowd as skillfully as they bounce off each other, finely attuned to their respective strengths as performers. Who would have thought that miming a typewriter could be so exciting? 

Contrary to all appearances, there is some semblance of plot and character development going on, albeit in the loosest possible terms. Keep in mind that given the highly improvised and somewhat unpredictable nature of the piece – which relies on two major audience participation segments to progress – this could differ considerably from night to night. It’s just delightful to see Malkin and Knowles bring such substance to what could easily have been a riff on prim British stereotypes, or a series of unconnected jokes.

On that note, it’s never entirely clear what the central presence of tea adds to the work. But does it matter? I could rather get used to being served tea in the theatre, however loosely connected it might be.

Two spouts up.

2 for Tea plays July 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13 at Randolph Theatre The production will also be travelling to the Winnipeg and Victoria Fringes.
Duration: 60mins

1 comment:

  1. Who would have thought that miming a typewriter could be so exciting?

    Ummmm Jerry Lewis about 50 years ago...


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