On the first night of the 30th annual Winnipeg Fringe Festival, July 19, I decided to check out Hot Thespian Action. I’ve heard the group’s name many times before, which makes sense, since they are based out of Winnipeg and have been performing together since 2006.
Although this quartet has been together for more than a decade, it was my first time seeing them. It’s clear that the performers are comfortable playing different roles with one another, using only a few mime boxes as props.
In their show called, “Fourplay”, they did more than 10 separate sketches, including some miming, dance, and musical numbers. They had a fairly large crowd come out to see them at the Gas Station Theatre, and they clearly knew how to make the crowd laugh.
Personally, I have a dark sense of humour so most of their numbers weren’t overly appealing to me—although I will say that the group will likely have at least ONE sketch that will appeal to audience members. For people with a dark sense of humour, the “House Hunters” skit was set in hell and the song “He Stole My Heart” puts a funny spin on organ trafficking.
I didn’t hurt myself laughing and I was completely able to take notes throughout their one-hour performance, but I do appreciate the group’s wit and ability to laugh at themselves.
I did particularly enjoy the “Love Story” sketch in which a grandmother and grandfather recount how they met way back in 2017—through a dating app where you swipe left or right (you may know which one I’m talking about) to indicate which person you would like to hook up with.
Fans of Hot Thespian Action would tell you that this group likes to use their bodies when performing—it’s true. It’s clear the four performers, Shannon Guile, Garth Merkeley, Ryan Miller, and Jane Testar, enjoy dancing and using their bodies to help bring their stories and skits to life.
Nowhere is this more evident that the final number in which all performers come together to make fun of current marketing trends when it comes to women’s appearances… anal bleaching, anyone?
Venue #18 – Gas Station Arts Centre
All shows at 7 p.m.
July 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26. 27, 28, 29, 30