Editor’s note: Last year our ARTS REVIEW executives made a value judgement to withdraw critical support of the Hamilton Fringe as we seriously doubted the professional level of its administrative Board. However, it is never been our mandate to restrict any of our columnists from attending any event they may wish to explore. Therefore, the following … Two Reviews by Tony Kilgannon
“Lies, Damn Lies and Magic Tricks”
This writer LOVES a magic show. There is something very thrilling about being hoodwinked in a playful way by somebody who is very good at it and seeks only to entertain. So when the Hamilton Fringe schedule came out, I put bold circles aroundthis show by the Toronto magician James Alan, and counted down the days.The performance was everything I hoped it would be; thought-provoking, funny, astonishing, and thoroughly entertaining. There would be no point describing the deceptions that this wonderful, sly young man perpetrates. It’s a great magic display and that’s all anyone needs to know. If you love magic, get yourself to one of the three remaining shows at 141 Park, on Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 1:00, or Sunday at 7:00. If you don’t love magic, please accept my sympathies as you endure the bleak, dank existence that is your life.
“Pickin’ N’ Shtick”
This Fringe production is not for everybody, but it most certainly was for me. The description in the newsletter prominently uses the word “banjo”, which some folks might find unappealing. The Rodney Dangerfield of instruments has a great deal of trouble getting respect e.g. “What is the difference between a banjo and a trampoline? You should take your boots off before you jump on a trampoline! Tony Molesworth, the creator & performer of this little variety show has a quirky, corny sense of humour about the instrument and it would seem, about pretty much everything else. This was a goofy, lopsided tour-de-force of sometimes bad jokes (the best kind), rapid fire puns, silly songs, and a bit of magic. Just to round out the insanity, Molesworth throws in ( sorry about the pun but this show brings it out in me) some truly breathtaking juggling, which is infused with the same eye-rolly, doofus humour that I found so appealing throughout. The title says it all, really, and I got what I paid for; a lot of laughs. Two more performances at 141 Park, on Friday and Saturday at 10:30 .