Toronto Fringe Festival: "Morro and Jasp Gone Wild"
Amy Lee and Heather Marie Annis return with their clown alter-egos in a raunchy, adults-only comedy.
The Morro and Jasp shows may have started as a series for children, but I can’t imagine anything more fun than the raunchy, very non-child-friendly humour in their latest incarnation, Morro and Jasp Gone Wild. For those unfamiliar with the series, Morro (Heather Marie Annis) and Jasp (Amy Lee) are two clown sisters who came into being with the family show The Funtastical Friendship of Morro and Jasp and progressed to mature-audiences-only Morro and Jasp Do Puberty, from last year’s Fringe.
In Gone Wild, their fifth outing, Morro and Jasp are teenagers on their first Spring Break trip to Wasaga Beach. Both of them have big plans: Morro wants to ditch her sister as soon as possible and party with friends from school, while Jasp plans meet her true love on the beach and lose her virginity. She’s even packed a “romance kit” (rose petals, contraception, cucumbers for practice) in her stuffed Peabody toy.
But their plans are temporarily dashed when they get into a car accident on the way up and have to spend the night in the woods, in the company of a howling “wolf-bear.” They squabble, get separated, and go on a series of misadventures – often with the help of audience members.
It’s in these scenes, where Morro and Jasp break the fourth wall and pull audience members down from their seats to participate in the action, that the two actresses really shine. The audience was game the afternoon I attended, offering up a BlackBerry so the girls could call a tow truck, assisting in Jasp’s safe sex lesson, or letting the girls drape beach towels and foam noodles over their figures for a makeshift hut. Annis and Lee are equally great at improvising and clowning, and they play off the audience with impeccable timing.
Despite the bright red noses and neon-hued clowny outfits, you know Morro and Jasp Gone Wild isn’t for children as soon as Jasp starts sensually rubbing sunscreen into her cleavage – and that’s just the beginning. But despite the drug and alcohol and urine jokes, the girls have a sweet stage presence that makes the crude material funnier, and they compensate for the easy sight gags with smart, subtle lines. And just a warning: if you don’t want to risk becoming a part of the show, sit away from the aisle and forget the front row. Otherwise you may find yourself clutching a cucumber between your legs while Jasp rolls a condom onto one end, or participating in a pseudo wet T-shirt contest with Morro. But to be honest, it all looked pretty fun.
The Toronto Fringe Festival runs until July 11. For more information, visit www.fringetoronto.com. For more information about Morro and Jasp, visit www.morroandjasp.com.