Shalom Life | September 21, 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 Ten Best Deli's in North America The Ten Best Deli's in North America TrendingRobert Downey Jr. To Be Honored At Britannia Awards Robert Downey Jr. To Be Honored At Britannia Awards TrendingJames Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character Trending
 

The Ten Best Deli's in North America

September 19, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
The Ten Best Deli's in North America

Got a hankering for a smoked meat sandwich? Look no further

Read More

New Study Suggests Artificial Sweeteners Harmful For Diabetics

September 19, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
New Study Suggests Artificial Sweeteners Harmful For Diabetics

A new study From Israel cautions diabetics to think twice about sugar substitutes

Read More

Daniel Radcliffe Repays His Debt to Irish Football Team Two Years Later

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Daniel Radcliffe Repays His Debt to Irish Football Team Two Years Later

'The F Word' star paid back the cab fare he borrowed while partying with the team.

Read More

Seth Rogen Teams Up With Adam McKay and Ben Schwartz For New Film

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Seth Rogen Teams Up With Adam McKay and Ben Schwartz For New Film

The 'This Is The End' star will also be producing.

Read More

Joan Rivers Writes Forward For New Jewish Cookbook

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Joan Rivers Writes Forward For New Jewish Cookbook

The comedian contributed some Jewish jokes and sentiments for 'Eating Delancey: A Celebration of Jewish Food'

Read More

Robert Downey Jr. To Be Honored At Britannia Awards

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Robert Downey Jr. To Be Honored At Britannia Awards

The 'Iron Man' star will be joined by Mark Ruffalo, Judi Dench, Emma Watson, and others

Read More

James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character

September 19, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
James Franco Says ‘Alien’ From ‘Spring Breakers’ is Most Relatable Character

The actor thinks that he's very similar to the corn-rowed, gun-toting character from Harmony Korine's film.

Read More

Jamie Geller And Tom Franz Explore The Bible’s Superfoods

September 19, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Jamie Geller And Tom Franz Explore The Bible’s Superfoods

Two of Israel's most renown Kosher chefs explore biblical foods in the City of David

Read More

More Headlines