And then it happened… (playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival) is a sketch comedy collaboration between two friends and a director, Kris Siddiqi. Despite getting the worst possible time slot for their opening (midday on a rainy Friday), these two performers (Zohaib Khan & Anesti Danelis) made the most of a lousy house and got off to a pretty good start.
There’s some original material here, and a handful of moments where they push something further than I’d been expecting: when they make brave choices, their bets usually pay off. A new take on Narnia went far beyond my expectations, and a bit poking fun at shallow celebrity interviews is fresh and sharp.
But then there are sketches we’ve all already seen done better, and sketches which trade in stereotypes which were already pretty retrograde in the 70s, and an honest-to-goodness paint-by-numbers airport security sketch. I found that even among the stronger material, a lot of it goes on a minute or two longer than it needs to.
I’d like to see this collaboration once they’ve baked a little longer. Khan and Danelis have friendly chemistry and know how to work a room, even when that room echoes. In moments when they got to think on their feet and improvise, they did some of their best work. There’s also a surprising level of professionalism here, especially around their lickety-split scene and costume changes.
But no matter how charismatic the presentation, sketch comedy lives and dies on its material. And right now, it’s not at the level it needs to be.
- And then it happened… plays at The Theatre Centre’s Franco Boni Theatre. (1115 Queen St. W.)
- 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 Scadding Court, 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: Gunshots, Sexual Content, Fog, Mist or Haze Effects, Audience Participation, Mature Language.
- This venue is accessible.
- Friday July 7th, 04:00 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 07:30 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 11:00 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 06:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 09:15 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 01:45 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 03:30 pm
Photograph of Zohaib Khan and Anesti Danelis by Nicolas Melo.