In Ring A Ding Dong Dandy, Ryan Beil and Graham Clark narrate an hour-long curated collection of classic wrestling clips, combining encyclopedic knowledge of the sport with Mystery Science Theatre 3000-style riffing. Its been wowing audiences in Vancouver, and now you can see it at the Toronto Fringe Festival. (And you should!)
I was really looking forward to this one, and I was also super worried: I’ve been at a few too many parties where people wind up sitting around a computer waiting for their turn to play a YouTube clip for the rest of the group. Watching videos with strangers isn’t always a good time, even if the strangers promise they’re Super Super Funny, Trust Me, They Get Real Funny In Like Nine Seconds.
I shouldn’t have worried. Beil and Clark have such great chemistry with each other, and such a strong sense of how to work with an audience — a stand-up background will do that for you — that the hour cruises by.
They’ve turned up some real hum-dingers, too: with all the speedos and rhinestones and hairspray and glitter, wrestling’s already plenty ridiculous, but they’ve cracked the formula and found clips that turn it up to eleven and beyond. And with a new set of clips every night, there’s always going to be a whole ream of surprises, even for return visitors.
Best of all, wrestling being wrestling, you can hate everything about the sport and still love this show. Beil and Clark are so affable and the clips so accessible that nobody will feel left out: come ready to laugh, that’s all they ask — and it’s all you need.
- Ring A Ding Dong Dandy plays at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. (16 Ryerson Ave)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warnings: Mature Language, Realistic Violence or Gore.
- This venue is NOT wheelchair-accessible.
- Saturday July 2nd, 10:15 pm
- Sunday July 3rd, 06:15 pm
- Monday July 4th, 02:15 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 05:00 pm
- Wednesday July 6th, 10:00 pm
- Friday July 8th, 08:45 pm
- Saturday July 9th, 01:00 pm
Photograph of (L->R) Graham Clark & Ryan Beil by Amy Ray.