Shalom Life | September 24, 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.

The Love Jewce (Rosh Hashanah Edition): 6 Ways to Sweeten Yourself & Your Love Life The Love Jewce (Rosh Hashanah Edition): 6 Ways to Sweeten Yourself & Your Love Life TrendingSarah Silverman Upset Over Tabloid Marriage Rumors Sarah Silverman Upset Over Tabloid Marriage Rumors TrendingThe Nosh Pit - Kosher Autumn Recipes The Nosh Pit - Kosher Autumn Recipes Trending
 

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Reggae and Hip Hop Musician, Matisyahu

September 23, 2014 | By Anthony Marcusa
EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Reggae and Hip Hop Musician, Matisyahu

Matisyahu discusses his new album 'Akeda', the changes in his personal life, and his current (and ongoing) world tour.

Read More

JFL42: Lena Dunham Charms, Empowers, Engages, and Eats Ketchup Chips

September 23, 2014 | By Anthony Marcusa
JFL42: Lena Dunham Charms, Empowers, Engages, and Eats Ketchup Chips

The 'Girls' creator joined Jian Ghomeshi on stage Saturday night for a chat and reading from her debut book 'Not That Kind of Girl.'

Read More

Porn Star James Deen to Participate in L.A AIDS Walk

September 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Porn Star James Deen to Participate in L.A AIDS Walk

Deen to Walk with Adult Entertainment Performer Advocacy Group in Support of Annual AIDS Benefit!

Read More

Bob Dylan is MusiCares Person of the Year

September 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Bob Dylan is MusiCares Person of the Year

The folk rocker will be honored at an event in February.

Read More

Chelsea Handler Announces Netflix Premiere Date

September 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Chelsea Handler Announces Netflix Premiere Date

'Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me' will premiere on Friday, October 10th.

Read More

Lena Dunham to Produce HBO Doc on LGBT Suitmaker

September 23, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Lena Dunham to Produce HBO Doc on LGBT Suitmaker

'Three Suits' will spotlight New York's bespoke-tailoring company Bindle & Keep

Read More

Shalom, Calgary: A Jewish Culture Guide

September 23, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Shalom, Calgary: A Jewish Culture Guide

The Jewish community in Calgary may be rather modest in size, but the history is rich and is still kept alive today by people who are very much proud of their history and culture.

Read More

How Did Leonard Cohen Celebrate His 80th Birthday? He Started Smoking

September 23, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
How Did Leonard Cohen Celebrate His 80th Birthday? He Started Smoking

"It's the right age to recommence," says Cohen

Read More

More Headlines