META-FRINGE: Giant Invisible Robot battles with four enormous thumbs up!

When you see FOUR THUMBS UP, you know you’re in for a really good play at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

Good luck getting tickets to Giant Invisible Robot!

Now please welcome the CBC’s Paul Matwychuk to our multi-thumbed hydra of hyper-criticism, a meta-media monster that already includes the body parts of several different theatre reviewers from the Edmonton Sun, the Edmonton Journal and Vue Weekly magazine – including the head of Liz Nicholls and the heart of Colin Maclean. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT (conflation of published/aired raves by Paul Matwychuk, the Edmonton Sun’s Colin Maclean, the Edmonton Journal’s Iain Ilich and Marlis Weber from Vue magazine): (This) quintessential Fringe play (is) a series (of) sharp and funny … monologues delivered (by) a Jim Carrey on steroids (who plays) various characters who have been affected by giant invisible robot (including) a lonely boy who made the robot his best friend … (Actor-playwright Jayson McDonald) throws himself headfirst into every line he delivers and fearlessly sells every preposterous scene … sustained hilarity (takes) an emotional turn that’s very sad and affecting … (shows) that fantasy and imagination can help us deal with sadness … Completely bewildering and utterly bewitching, a treat for the imagination, (there) is not a bit of excess fat here as the hour-long laugh-filled entertainment hurtles toward an affecting ending that will put a catch in your throat and throw everything that preceded it a whole different perspective. AGGREGATE RATING: 4.88 out of 5

THE UNSEEN (Matwychuk, Maclean, Nicholls and Andrew Paul, Vue): In this Kafka-esque play (set) in a nameless prison, inmates tortured daily hold onto sanity (with) wildly elaborate philosophical discussions … An allegorical ‘Waiting for Godot’ where the two protagonists wait in vain for something to happen (features) performances nothing short of brilliant (in which) the actors are on top of every line (in a script both) taut and spare. (While) the mood is bleak and miserable, (the) dark subject matter is shot through with an absurdist sense of humour … (An) existential play (is a) portrait of humanity driven to the very edge. AGGREGATE RATING: 4 out of 5


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