Sean Patton is quite the storyteller, or moreover, this New Orleans-born and raised and now Brooklyn-based comic performing at OFF-JFL is quite a funny storyteller. In his Friday night show at Theatre Ste-Catherine he vividly recounted a few key events from his own youth and adult years (presumably real ones), some hilarious and others surprisingly emotional and serious. A few were even a bit dark.

He jumped back and fourth between them, throwing in punchlines sometimes where you might expect them, though more than once they seemed to come out of nowhere. He eventually tied all the stories together and it made sense.

Patton’s humour stemmed from how he observed the events he was talking about, many of which were not intrinsically funny on their own. A few times he went into material that would most likely be played as self-deprecating by a more predictable comic, but with Patton it just came across as honest.

This felt less like a typical standup show and more like everyone gathered around that one really funny guy at the party because they are invested in the story and absolutely need to hear how it ends before going to the fridge for another beer.

Patton’s set featured quite a few recurring characters, people from his life in New Orleans. His hometown played a leading role in his tales as well. The city’s more colourful characters, local stereotypes and the similarities between New Orleans and Montreal were all part of the show. So was Hurricane Katrina, in fact it was a particularly poignant part.

A bit longer than a typical OFF-JFL standup set, Patton was able to hold the audience’s attention, including mine, throughout, and keep us laughing.

* Featured image by Joseph Fuda courtesy of OFF-JFL

* Sean Patton performs tonight, July 23rd, at Theatre Ste-Catherine, 264 Ste-Catherine Est and Monday, July 25th, at Katacombes, 1635 St-Laurent, as part of OFF-JFL. Tickets available through

A Bandolier of Dreams_Photo2_fringe2014The following is a review for a show you will never see.

The setting? A Victorian-era drawing room. The characters? Two English gentleman. The story? Well my darlings that changes every time as Bandolier of Dreams is a hilarious hour of improv from Matt Goldberg and Mike Hughes- aka two members of the long-running comedy troupe Uncalled For.

At the story telling shows I’ve seen this year’s Montreal Fringe festival, I’ve come to have great respect for the talent it takes to keep an audience engrossed in your story. Improv I feel like takes it up a notch. Not only do you have to keep an audience entertained, but you’re under the added pressure of making it all up as you go along  (and in this show all while speaking in an English accent!). I assume Goldberg and Hughes set out very loose parameters of where they want the story to go and have fun props like tea trays, wine bottles and telephones to keep the show moving along.

Needless to say, Goldberg and Hughes hit it out of the park. The two have an easy and obvious chemistry that comes from their years working together, and are professionals in the art of improvisation. There were times when Goldberg came close to breaking character and bursting out laughing but honestly, it only added to the silly atmosphere. As their Fringe profile declares, you come to this show for the “comedy experience”, not serious theatre.

I had even greater respect for the difficulties of creating witty banter on the spot when yours truly got called up onstage in an audience cameo role. I caught on to some of the tricks of improv; your actors will feed you ideas you can build on by asking questions or open ended statements. I came up with much more amusing things I could have said on the metro ride home then I did on stage, but it was a fun experience none the less. (Oh and that wine they drink onstage folks is definitely real so thanks for the drink guys!)  Remember to give a wink to Hughes during the show and who knows, maybe you’ll end up a star of Bandolier of Dreams as well.

Bandolier of Dreams plays at Theatre Sainte Catherine until June 22nd.