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Sex, Religion, & Other Hang-Ups
Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue, Toronto, Canada)
October 4–22, Tuesday to Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 7 and 9 p.m.; Opening tonight at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 (students/seniors/arts workers) or $25 (general admission) from the box office (416-504-7529) or artsboxoffice.ca
Just reading the title of James Gangl’s one man show, which was a smash hit and garnered much praise at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival, one might immediately assume that the combination is a hilarious recipe for a comedy. Well, it’s true!
I recently attended the opening of Sex, Religion, & Other Hang-Ups at Theatre Passe Muraille and I was not disappointed. In fact the show far surpassed my expectations, which were already pretty high. Not only is Gangl known as one of this city’s best improvisers, but this show won a couple awards and sold out on a nightly basis during its fringe run. This is why I expected comedic gold.
He starts off with a simple introduction then proceeds to ask all of the single ladies in the audience to go and speak with him after the show. If the women were not single then he encouraged them to pass along the message to their single friends.
At times I laughed so hard I nearly had an accident, and other times the audience was so captivated that you could hear that proverbial pin drop. His high energy, which is that of an 8-year-old kid who forgot to take his Ritalin, is entertaining and charming and he definitely has a knack for bringing in an audience for this personal adventure. His impeccable comedic timing doesn’t hurt his cause either.
What’s the show about? It’s all right there in the title. Actually, it’s all right there on the poster, which reads JAMES GANGL…IS LOOKING FOR A GIRLFRIEND IN: Sex, Religion, & Other Hang-Ups, hence why he was talking up the ladies at the beginning of the show. He doesn’t want a midnight hottie for a booty call though. This man wants a relationship and all that comes with it, the love, the romance and the intimacy.
Gangl takes the audience on an intimate journey, captivating everyone with sheer truth. He talks about his conservative side, his catholic upbringing and how it played a major component in his life. His libidinous side and how he just wants to fuck everything which poses some internal conflict. Following that was his choice to become a “professional actor”, his first role on a Coors Light commercial, and his first love from the shoot, Bunny #3.
I can tell you it’s not easy being on a stage, alone, in front of a sold out crowd. Now add the fact that he was talking about some of his most embarrassing moments such as premature ejaculation and admitting to an underwear model that he was a virgin and “can’t have sex until WE’re married”. James Gangl did it with ease and sure made it look easy.
The show runs until October 22nd with discounted tickets for single ladies. Sponsored by: Coors Light, Comedy Network and… Seduction!
You can visit www.sexhangup.com for more information on tickets and show times.
Photo courtesy of Corbin Smith