Mayhem At Miskatonic TORONTO FRINGE 2019 REVIEW

Mayhem At Miskatonic TORONTO FRINGE 2019 REVIEW

What I truly love about Pointed Cap Playhouse is that they so effortlessly push the boundaries of burlesque in new and exciting territory. They are masters at incorporating sexy, flirty fun into a script that is always accessible, and well, sexy.

Now I am not a particularly sexy person. Me and burlesque have a curious history of appreciation with consent and it’s strange to go into a burlesque experience and judge it according to the merits of story and dance. Burlesque is never known to have these elements but the way they incorporate the standard burlesque tropes into engaging and fun stories and characters always sets Pointed Cap a considerable measure above other shows in the field.

Now to begin, this show is well done. As someone who loves games the idea of incorporating a choose your own adventure style game into a show is exciting and fun! It’s a hoot to be able to feel like what you are doing is having a measured impact on the show itself and the performances as well.

And the performances! They’re so good! The dancing is excellent. The costumes are beautiful. The characters hilarious, and even the ones I didn’t like had great moments. (One character in particular I will talk about after) The quality of their production is spectacular and everything from the choreography to the jokes lands with grace that shows just how experienced these performers are. There is incredible strength, flexibility and - well - sexiness on full display and it it a delight to see these masters at work.

One particular performer did something truly incredible. St. Stella gets up on the bar at one point and performs a dance number to a spoken word piece that is both beautifully done, radically unique and perfectly hilarious. I have truly never seen a piece like it, and it makes the show worth the price of admission for this one number alone.
Obviously this should not demean the other performances as they were all high energy and exciting. But this one was something really special that i will remember for a long time to come. (And the costume was very Starry Night Van Gogh stunning which of course will initiate my personal bias everytime)

The only issues I had with the show come down to two things. The first is the bar itself that they perform in. The space is long and narrow and depending on where you sit, it is easy to feel like you’re missing half the show. If you sit at the bar or in the front space as I did, you miss most of the beginning that takes place on the stage- and if you sit towards the back you miss a lot of the excitement that happens at the front. There is a “Sweet spot” in the center and if you can snag these seats, do so! Plus sitting at the bar meant you would likely be screamed at by one character repeating the same joke over and over. While it’s funny the first few times, the joke can wear thin and while it never detracted from the experience, if I was closer I imagine it would have.

The second and only other issue I had with the production was the game elements. I personally know far too many games for my own good. But my issue with this lies not in the game, but how it left me feeling at the end. I feel like the game elements didn’t add anything too spectacular to the production as in the end, they didn’t end up feeling like it mattered. I am unsure if the choices we made as a group had any impact on the final outcome or if not matter what we did, it would simply end the same way. As it stands, the game itself is fine, but I couldn’t quite understand which choices lead to who the final villain was, or if there was supposed to be a final vote to figure things out. I suspect there may have been a few extra additions to the show that may have been cut for time that would have explained things better. Once again, this really isn’t a problem and doesn’t effect the show in any way- it was just curious to attempt to connect the dots and not be entirely clear on how they all connected.

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