Edmonton Fringe: Bookworm, No Tweed Too Tight, Vernus Says Surprise
Bookworm is Corin Raymond’s tale of growing up in his dad’s library, a household of 10,000 books, in which the act of handing over a volume of poetry was almost a ceremony. He touches on some of the texts and other stories that affected him the most – Theseus and the Minotaur, SpiderMan comics, Dylan Thomas, always returning to Ray Bradbury. This is a love story to books and to family, as Raymond recounts road tripping with his father, and passing on his own love of books to his younger brother.
Raymond is a natural storyteller. His relaxed delivery makes the audience immediately welcome in his world – he’s a friend telling us some anecdotes. Some really good anecdotes. The show is tied together beautifully – we feel like we are growing up alongside him – and the show’s payoff is executed to perfection.
A must for fellow bookworms and fans of storytelling shows.
No Tweed Too Tight: Another Grant Canyon Mystery
Sit back, get ready to laugh, and don’t try too hard to follow the plot of Ryan Gladstone’s latest wacky, high-energy solo comedy show. It’s 1976 in Des Moines, Iowa. Grant Canyon is an insurance investigator who constantly suffers alcohol-induced blackouts. There’s an FBI drug bust. A sexy bar singer. A stolen sapphire. Murder. Are they related? How? Grant Canyon will find out!
No Tweed Too Tight is relentlessly fast-paced, with a new location for every (frequent) blackout and no explanation given how Canyon ever gets from point A to B. Characters pop up right, left, and centre – Canyon’s boss, the singer and her boyfriend, a drug cartel leader. Gladstone is more than capable of bringing them all to life, ridiculous similes and all.
Watching Gladstone perform to a packed house was a joy – he got the laughs he deserved. His shows are reliably silly, and No Tweed Too Tight is no exception. Book early if you too want to follow along this hilarious tale of insurance fraud!
Vernus Says SURPRISE
Vernus is an 89-year-old man who lives in a world going by too fast for him to get in a word. He attempts to answer the phone, goes to the bank, takes the bus, and goes to the toy store to buy his granddaughter a birthday present. Sound cues expertly stand in for props. Other characters speak – Vernus’ daughter, the bus driver, the store clerk – but not Vernus.
Vernus is a lovable character portrayed with excellent comedic chops by Ken Godmere. The story is touching but never sappy, delightful and never boring. The show is filled with charm, such as Vernus’ interaction with the toys or his attempt to open the bank’s door. Godmere had the opening night crowd in the palm of his hand, where they rightly belonged.