Sunday, November 27, 2022

Fringe Review: Killing Time: A Game Show Musical

Who: Mixtape Projects
What: Killing Time: A Game Show Musical
Length: 75 minutes
Where: The Zoetic (526 Concession Street)
When: July 21-31 as part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival
Tickets: $12 + $1.75 fee at https://boxoffice.hftco.ca/event/866:583/

Killing Time: A Game Show Musical is a screwball-comedy-musical- that’s also a murder-mystery. This high-energy play has more laughs than it does genre associations, and it features an exceptional ensemble cast, with each actor working hard to layer each bit into the heightened reality of jokes that makes up the world of the play.

The set is sparse in typical Fringe fashion with an applause sign, a couple of podiums, and sometimes a table and chairs. The true set of the show is comprised of the over-the-top performances of the actors and the show’s excellent costumes; too much else would get in the way.

Killing Time is set to the music of a live pit band, rather than to recorded music, which keeps the music of this musical front and centre of the production. Ben Kopp’s lyrics are a particular high point of the play, packed with goofy jokes and gags that are worth a repeated watch of the show.

In the performance I attended, there were some technical issues with the actors’ microphone volumes compared to the volume of the band at the show. Given the number of actors and live microphones onstage at any given time during the show, though, technical issues are completely understandable and, in the case of the show I attended, easily surmountable by the capable cast and crew.

As any murder-mystery comedy is bound to be, Killing Time is a dark comedy, and central to its plot are the effects of toxic masculinity in the workplace and the lengths to which people will go to be noticed by those who are important to them. As a musical comedy, these themes aren’t central to the experience of the play, rather, they’re used more as a backdrop. The real message of Killing Time is to laugh along at the goofy jokes and have fun- which the cast and crew make too easy to do.

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