Shalom Life | November 26, 2014

Toronto Fringe Festival: "2-Man No-Show 2"

Isaac Kessler and Ken Hall return with a sequel to last year’s Fringe hit.

By: Miriam Cross

Published: July 5th, 2010 in Culture » Stage » Reviews

Toronto Fringe Festival: "2-Man No-Show 2"

You have to give Isaac Kessler credit for the last few minutes of 2-Man No-Show 2, his and Ken Hall’s follow-up to their 2009 Fringe hit 2-Man No-Show. Sporting a big, shiny Star of David necklace (as he does throughout the show), the red-haired Kessler bounds around stage as Tarzan in a leopard-print loincloth-style thong that just barely covers what needs to be covered, prompting one girl behind me to giggle, “That was way more of Isaac than I needed to see.”

Kessler and Hall are game for pretty much anything in 2-Man No-Show 2, a series of amusing if sprawling sketches that last just under an hour. You’ll miss a few jokes if this is your first introduction to the pair – especially in a “chair birthing” scene that has to be seen to be believed – but their flair for physical comedy and obvious stage chemistry go a long way towards making up for uneven material and lapses in clarity.

Judging from the audience’s reactions, the appeal of each sketch is largely a matter of taste. I liked the Jewish twist to their Pinocchio skit (and its unexpectedly gruesome ending), and the “Kissing Bandit” scene contained a hilarious tango number (made funnier by the height difference between the two). The Street Hunter sketch, where the two alternate between playing the cops and crooks, was a clever idea but hampered by a lack of polish, and I just didn’t get the sequence where Hall played a drunken homeless man begging for Kessler’s store clerk’s attention on Christmas Eve.

The sketches could have benefitted from a little tightening and several dialogues went by too fast to be intelligible. Moreover, the production feels a bit scattershot – there’s no discernible connection between these scenes. But Kessler and Hall are such great ad-libbers that I started to wish there was more improvisation and audience interaction in the show, and they’re so clearly enjoying themselves that the energy is infectious. The execution may have been rough, but their charm and total shamelessness in going for the laughs made me wish I’d caught their act the first time around, and left me intrigued as to what the pair would do next.

The Toronto Fringe Festival runs until July 11. For more information, visit www.fringetoronto.com. For more information about 2-Man No-Show 2, visit www.2mannoshow.com.

Shalom, Cancun: A Jewish Culture Guide Shalom, Cancun: A Jewish Culture Guide TrendingSeth Rogen: James Franco is a "Weird Guy" [VIDEO] Seth Rogen: James Franco is a "Weird Guy" [VIDEO] TrendingDeaths of Joan Rivers, Robin Williams & Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photos Are Top Internet Search Items for 2014 Deaths of Joan Rivers, Robin Williams & Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photos Are Top Internet Search Items for 2014 Trending
 

The Essential Hanukkah Gift Guide 2014: The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild [GIVEAWAY]

November 26, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
The Essential Hanukkah Gift Guide 2014: The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild [GIVEAWAY]

See inside for your chance to win a "Jew's Glasses" 4-pack of either your favorite Jewish entertainers, thinkers, artists or writers

Read More

Even with Thanksgiving, Israelis Still Eat More Turkey Than Americans

November 26, 2014 | By JNS.org
Even with Thanksgiving, Israelis Still Eat More Turkey Than Americans

Israel is actually the world leader in per capita consumption of turkey

Read More

UJA Federation of Greater Toronto Approves Funding to Strengthen Israel’s Southern Region

November 26, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto Approves Funding to Strengthen Israel’s Southern Region

A UJA committee was in the Holy Land last week, witnessing firsthand how funds donated by the Canadian Jewish community are being used

Read More

Jewish Hall of Fame: Billy Joel

November 26, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall of Fame: Billy Joel

This week's inductee is the "Piano Man" himself

Read More

This British City Council is Banning All Israeli Goods

November 26, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
This British City Council is Banning All Israeli Goods

Leicester, the 10th largest city in the U.K., has opposed the Labor Party's recommendation not to join the BDS movement

Read More

Israeli Police Are Using Spy Balloons for A Better View of Jerusalem

November 26, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Police Are Using Spy Balloons for A Better View of Jerusalem

Incorporated to keep the city safe after a wave of terrorist attacks

Read More

Mel Brooks Joins 'Hotel Transylvania 2' as Dracula's Dad

November 26, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Mel Brooks Joins 'Hotel Transylvania 2' as Dracula's Dad

The legendary comedian will play Vlad, who brings drama with him on a family visit.

Read More

Lena Dunham Rocks Out to Hip Hop Song Named After Her [VIDEO]

November 26, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Lena Dunham Rocks Out to Hip Hop Song Named After Her [VIDEO]

Hand Job Academy is back with a second music video after their first hit, 'Shark Week'.

Read More

More Headlines