Montreal Fringe: Pitching Knife Fight, Triple Cross, Conquer Your Mountains
Pitching Knife Fight
Pitching Knife Fight is a half hour-long movie pitch for a film and its subsequent 22 sequels based solely around the premise of containing knife fights. This solo show consists of Walter and his flip chart presentation – and that’s it. He goes over the back story of why he wants to make a movie, ideas for investors, casting, merchandise, and target audience, and makes many, many knife jokes (“Knifeception – a knife fight inside of a knife fight inside of a knife fight”).
Pitching Knife Fight works because Walter is not a larger-than-life character; this is not a spoof, but instead a comedic homage to movies. This is a show for movie buffs, not one that makes fun of them. The energy level tends to stay the same throughout the show, and there isn’t much of a story arc – but in a half-hour show, it works. An entertaining chuckle-ful show.
Triple Cross is the story of four people who con and betray each other to get money. The four characters – two couples – bicker and threaten each other with knives and guns throughout the 45 minutes of the show, working through relationship issues at the same time as money schemes.
Having a cast of entirely unappealing characters only works when the actors are top-notch (think the dazzlingly spiteful Ernest and Ernestine from last year’s Montreal Fringe). The actors in Triple Cross are not top-notch. In fact, their acting is barely passable; you can see the gears grinding in their minds as they remember their lines and blocking. Their timing is poor, as is the writing, and, well, everything about Triple Cross. Give this one a pass.
Conquer Your Mountains
Michael Lifshitz has Multiple Congenital Musculoskeletal Abnormalities, which might not sound very funny, but he is more than ready to prove that wrong. Michael describes himself as a motivational speaker and comedian, and that’s basically what you get with Conquer Your Mountains. The show is storytelling plus stand-up, infused with life lessons, positive messages, and inspirational quotes.
The show flows nicely and is well-rehearsed; he knows what will hit. The theme of “people can do whatever they put their mind to” occasionally verges on preachy, but Michael’s genuine smile and personal anecdotes keep it grounded.
The audience on Friday night was mostly 40+, and Conquer Your Mountains definitely appeals to that crowd. The under-30s may want to steer clear, but this is a great “safe” comedy for the older generation. That being said, Michael: please, please scrap your opening act!