Edmonton International Fringe Festival 2018
Stage 22, Garneau Theatre, 8712-109 St.
Wed. Aug. 22, 2018 – 8 p.m.
Thursday. Aug. 23, 2018 – 6:15 p.m.
Friday Aug. 24, 2018 – 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25 – 4 p.m.
Review by GRAHAM HICKS, Hicksbiz.com
One of the Fringe Festival’s great strengths is its ability to laugh.
And within that comedy, one of the most admired strengths is the comic ability of the improvisational comedy, to dance on the comedic high-wire with no net below.
Thanks to a long and venerable tradition of improv theatre - Die-Nasty, Gordon’s Big Bald Head, Rapid Fire Theatre, Grindstone and many more - Edmonton is a true hotbed for breeding and encouraging improvisational talent.
Kory Mathewson and Julian Faid are veteran Rapid Fire Theatre associates, who came up with the creative original idea of spoofing the oh-so-earnest TED Talks – the most recognizable social media brand where learned experts in their fields give usually serious talks about the meaning of life.
TEDxRFT – the RFT must stand for Rapid Fire Theatre – turns the formula on its ear.
Kory and Julian start off with a very funny dialogue on receiving a “cease and desist” letter from TED Talk legal beagles, and their response – that they can’t be confused with TED Talks as they have no experience, no expertise and no education.
The joke is that each takes turn at being “experts” in some topic suggested by the audience, then launch into a lecture on the subject, aided and guided by a series of random humourous Monty Python-esque slides that they themselves have not seen before.
Funny stuff: Even the choosing of the topic fetched belly laughs from a good-sized audience at the Garneau Theatre on Tuesday evening. For Julian, Kory asked for suggestions based on spiritual philosophy, and joined two suggestions: “Zen Then But Not Now” and “Living, Laughing, Leaving.”
Playing the earnest guru giving a TED Talk, Julian somehow stitched random slides of evil goats and dysfunctional families into psychedelic talk on how to approach life – the kind of pablum that cross-legged gurus dispense under the guise of seriousness.
Kory followed with a lecture on fashion – you can imagine the slides – on the audience-suggested topic “One Leg then the Other” which just got wackier and wackier with each passing slide and witticism.
TEDxRFT is a beguiling hour of good, intelligent-in-its-own-way improvisational comedy.
Great to see the Garneau Theatre, incidentally, join the Fringe as an off-site venue. It’s a beautiful older theatre with great character that can comfortably seat hundreds and is home to several Rapid Fire Theatre Fringe shows, plus other comedy shows.
Be aware, however, that there is no nearby satellite box office, from which to purchase online-ordered tickets.