"Crazy is another word for family." This is what Don (Damien Doepping) tells us – and his new family couldn’t be more absurd. Between Glen, (Nathan Costa) his science-loving future brother-in-law who has a criminal record, and Leslie, (Adele Dicks) his superficial future sister-in-law who has a stalking problem, Don certainly has his hands full. Oh, and let’s not forget: he’s about to propose to the love of his life, Christie (Kristy LaPointe) on the day of her parents’ 25th Anniversary. No matter what is being asked of these characters, or what conflict each of them are dealing with, they always somehow manage to get out of facing their problem head on – with the help of one another, of course. Sure sounds like a party to me.
If It’s Not Too Much Trouble, the winner of Fringe’s 25-hour playwriting competition in 2013, is back – written and directed by Trevor Poelman and assistant directed by Erin Norton. Plainly said, this show is a lot of fun to watch. It is a live sitcom, in the sense that it is thoroughly engaging for the entire duration and the characters are very well developed; though I don’t see the play’s larger significance to our generation or feel provoked in any way, I don’t necessarily care. I could watch many more hours of these characters going about their daily business because, frankly, they are amusing and I like them.
The depth of these characters is further accentuated by the acting talents of the entire cast, who seemed to be effortlessly funny, just living in their characters and really letting script speak for itself, which makes the performance that much stronger – the humour was never forced. That being said, one thing I would have liked to see more heightened was Christie’s reaction to the proposal. If I wanted to be proposed to, I wouldn’t care if twenty people spilled the beans. That moment verifies everything – their entire relationship – and the reaction fell a bit flat for me. I wasn’t fully buying it. But hey, maybe I’m just a drama queen.
If It’s Not Too Much Trouble, presented by Books are Boring, is playing at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, until July 12th. For more information, visit http://ifitsnottoomuchtrouble.com/.