Shalom Life | July 29, 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: Why Ron Dermer and other NJB’s are Freaking Sexy The Love Jewce: Why Ron Dermer and other NJB’s are Freaking Sexy TrendingSeth Rogen Chugs Beer From The Stanley Cup [VIDEO] Seth Rogen Chugs Beer From The Stanley Cup [VIDEO] TrendingOne Direction’s Zayn Malik Receives Death Threats After Tweeting #FreePalestine One Direction’s Zayn Malik Receives Death Threats After Tweeting #FreePalestine Trending
 

Shalom, Suriname: A Jewish Culture Guide

July 29, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Shalom, Suriname: A Jewish Culture Guide

This South American nature once held a community of settlers called Jodensavanne (the Jewish Savannah).

Read More

Larry David to Sit Down With David Steinberg For Rare Comedy Event

July 29, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Larry David to Sit Down With David Steinberg For Rare Comedy Event

The 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' creator is joining Steinberg for an exclusive events for Citi card members in Los Angeles.

Read More

Andrew Lloyd Webber is Suing Michael Cohl

July 29, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Andrew Lloyd Webber is Suing Michael Cohl

The 'Jesus Christ Superstar' composer is suing the Canadian producer

Read More

The Love Jewce: Why Ron Dermer and other NJB’s are Freaking Sexy

July 29, 2014 | By Andria Kaplan
The Love Jewce: Why Ron Dermer and other NJB’s are Freaking Sexy

A look at those "sexy Jewish men" who are making it known that they support Israel

Read More

New Zealand Cover Story Mistakes Jackass' Ryan Dunn for Slain IDF Soldier

July 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
New Zealand Cover Story Mistakes Jackass' Ryan Dunn for Slain IDF Soldier

The New Zealand Herald ran a cover story about late IDF Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland, but didn't use the right photo

Read More

Will Rising European anti-Semitism Lead to a 'New' Holocaust?

July 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Will Rising European anti-Semitism Lead to a 'New' Holocaust?

European, Israeli leaders hold emergency session after "rising wave of violent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel demonstrations sweeping Europe"

Read More

An Interview with Umami Burger Creator Adam Fleischman

July 29, 2014 | By Peter Herriman
An Interview with Umami Burger Creator Adam Fleischman

We speak to the renowned chef and owner of the growing restaurant chain about burgers, chocolate fried chicken, and how he comes up with his unique recipes

Read More

American Rabbi Becomes First Non-Christian to Serve as U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom

July 29, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
American Rabbi Becomes First Non-Christian to Serve as U.S. Ambassador for Religious Freedom

Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the Religious Action Center, will work towards establishing international religious freedom

Read More

More Headlines