Shalom Life | December 18, 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.

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (50-41) Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (50-41) TrendingBob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed Inducted Into Grammy Hall of Fame Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed Inducted Into Grammy Hall of Fame TrendingSeth Rogen Attacks Media Over Publishing Leaked Sony Emails Seth Rogen Attacks Media Over Publishing Leaked Sony Emails Trending
 

Jewish Hall of Fame: Matt Stone

December 17, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jewish Hall of Fame: Matt Stone

Co-creator of the Emmy award-winning 'South Park', and the Tony award-winning 'The Book of Mormon'

Read More

Israeli Right Wing Politician Mockingly Dresses Up As a Hipster in New Campaign Video

December 17, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Right Wing Politician Mockingly Dresses Up As a Hipster in New Campaign Video

The politician's latest effort to recruit Israelis to Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home)

Read More

Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (50-41)

December 17, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Top 50 Hottest Jewish Women of 2014 (50-41)

Join Shalom Life in celebrating the 50 most talented, intelligent, funny, and beautiful Jewish women of the year.

Read More

Jonah Hill and James Franco's 'True Story' Gets First Trailer

December 17, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Jonah Hill and James Franco's 'True Story' Gets First Trailer

The film is set to premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival

Read More

Alan Gross: Freedom is not Free

December 17, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Alan Gross: Freedom is not Free

The 65-year-old Jewish American makes his first public remarks after spending five years in a Cuban prison

Read More

Lea Michele Covers Frozen's 'Let It Go' in 'Glee' Premiere [VIDEO}

December 17, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Lea Michele Covers Frozen's 'Let It Go' in 'Glee' Premiere [VIDEO}

'Glee' has released a teaser for it's upcoming 2-hour premiere episode.

Read More

James Franco and Seth Rogen's 'The Interview' Premiere and Theatrical Release Cancelled

December 17, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
James Franco and Seth Rogen's 'The Interview' Premiere and Theatrical Release Cancelled

The controversial film will not be released in North American after receiving threats from North Korea

Read More

EU Ambasador to Israel: Hamas Still Considered a Terror Group

December 17, 2014 | By JNS.org
EU Ambasador to Israel: Hamas Still Considered a Terror Group

Despite an EU court's decision to remove Hamas from the terrorist blacklist, Lars Faaborg-Anderson says the EU still considers them terrorists

Read More

More Headlines