thoroughly entertaining and hilarious show that has my highest
Review by Dean Jenkinson, CBC
Chris Gibbs is a dad now. If anyone's more fortunate than little Beckett, who has a very smart and caring father, it's us.
Gibbs' hour of observations about his first two years of fatherhood is as clever and funny a show as you'll see at this festival.
I won't spoil the show-opening vignette. Suffice it to say, I've never seen anyone use a John Williams score and a black coat to more humorous effect.
What separates Gibbs from other comedians is his incredible nimbleness. He's able to take an everyday observation, flip it around, take it to its ludicrous 'nth degree, find connections to elements we've already seen in the show, with a bare minimum of words and time.
He avoids cliches; his material is intensely personal. And he makes excellent use of self-deprecation (though I doubt he'd say so).
Who else could tell you the potential child development pitfalls of pretending toy dinosaurs sing opera, rather than roar?
A thoroughly entertaining and hilarious show that has my highest recommendation.
endearingly hapless quester, constantly reassessing his
personal experience, having second thoughts and going off
on hilarious tangents. Not to be missed"
Review by Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal
You could call the English-born actor/playwright Chris Gibbs a standup and get away with it. He is, after all, very funny. But you'd be selling far short the sly way Gibbs, or his "Chris Gibbs" persona, owns his observations by channelling them through this slightly addled, tentative, self-mocking stage self.
We've met him before, in Antoine Feval and The Power of Ignorance, with their dim but earnest narrators. This time, he's back as Chris Gibbs, the English emigre comic who's produced a new Canadian. Yup, he's a dad, with a son named Beckett. These things are true, of course. But what makes Like Father, Like Son? Sorry more than a smart guy's collection of wry, witty insights into parenting is the way they come to us.
The man onstage is an endearingly hapless quester, constantly reassessing his personal experience, having second thoughts and going off on hilarious tangents. That's the way the mind works. It's a bemused free-range intelligence; it roves and returns carrying apologies. Having Beckett fascinates and scares it. This is the comedy of train-of-thought derailments. That's why the anecdote about Gibbs's previous life as an "overweight acrobat" is so funny. That's why Gibbs desperately ransacks movies for insights, and ponders the immigrant experience. "I can't be a father; I'm me." And that Me isn't really 39; he's "been a 13-year-old for 26 years." Gibbs's analysis of what it means to be pathologically shy and a man having a conversation about fatherhood with 150 people is not to be missed. This may not be "a play." But it speaks to the heart of theatre.
(4 1/2 STARS)
one of the most uniquely persuasive solo performers around...
it's all fresh, it's all funny, it's presented with wit
Review by Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star
Over the past seven years, the name of Chris Gibbs on a Fringe show has been a guarantee that you're going to get quality. He's one of the most uniquely persuasive solo performers around, achieving his results with a combination of verbal erudition (his British heritage) and diffident charm (thanks to his adopted country, Canada).
Again, unlike many mission-track artists, Gibbs doesn't always stick to the subject he's originally announced, but weaves in and out of it before finally returning to home base, kind of like a tour guide with ADD.
All this holds true for his latest show, Like Father, Like Son? Sorry. Although claiming to be an examination of his paternal feelings since the birth of his son in 2007, it also manages to be an exploration of the Superman myth, pop heroes in general, the perils of being overweight, the complexities of marriage, what it's like to struggle with a form of TB and other garden variety issues.
It's all fresh, it's all funny, it's presented with wit and style and it proves once again that Chris Gibbs is the Steve Jobs of Fringe comedy: always coming up with something new that manages to be good as well.
way beyond navel-gazing to ask profound (and very funny)
questions about life, death and Star Trek, all delivered
in Gibbs's genial, self-effacing manner."
Review by Glenn Sumi, Now Magazine, Toronto
Becoming a father has made Fringe veteran Chris Gibbs examine what he's inherited from his parents and what he may pass on to his son. The result goes way beyond navel-gazing to ask profound (and very funny) questions about life, death and Star Trek, all delivered in Gibbs's genial, self-effacing manner. Gibbs draws on some great pop culture father-son references but can also find the funny in the darkest corner, like wherever his own difficult parents are located. And there are a couple of great doctor stories. Because of Gibbs's improv skills, expect a somewhat different (but no less hilarious) set of tales each time.
energy and wit sweeps the audience along like a heady drug."
Victoria Times Colonist, Victoria, BC
Those who couldn't afford the big bucks to see U.K. comic Eddie Izzard last week might be in luck.
Chris Gibbs, a lesser-known but similarly hugely talented British funnyman, gives his final performance of Like Father, Like Son? Sorry at Uno Fest on Saturday. Like Izzard, Gibbs is a free-form laugh riot, tearing from topic to topic with amphetamine-fast speed and an indefatigable eye for the absurd. The $15 tickets are a great bargain (get there early, or buy in advance online at intrepidtheatre.com).
Unlike another fine Gibbs solo piece, The Power of Ignorance, this one is mostly autobiographical. Like Father, Like Son? Sorry is based on his experiences as a new dad. Don't expect Bill Cosby comfort food, though.
True, some touch points are familiar: Caesarean versus vaginal births, acclimatizing oneself to parenthood, the role of dads versus moms. But Gibbs -- again, like Izzard -- is uninterested in massaging platitudes. Instead, he'll riff on what's considered unmentionable, at least in bourgeois society. Gibbs discusses his newborn's disappointment when, holding him to his chest, the baby attempts to nurse on his dry, hairy nipple. Later on, he muses on the spookiness of his youngster's habit of speaking aloud at night in his sleep.
The comic's tremendous energy and wit sweeps the audience along like a heady drug. Gibbs has a sly, goofily self-deprecating style that recalls Hugh Laurie (not the House Hugh Laurie, the Black Adder Hugh Laurie). There's an existential funkiness to his perspective (he named his kid Beckett) that's awfully appealing. He also displays an honesty typical of top-echelon comedians, an ability to sift through the dross of societal convention.
Gibbs concludes on a note that, in less skilled hands, might be sentimental. It's not, though. We were left amused and exhilarated.
(4 1/2 STARS)
jokes come so fast you could miss a third of them while
Review by Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press
Now based in Toronto with his Canadian wife, the British comedian Chris Gibbs has been domesticated, though his imagination remains untamed.
The 40-ish performer, a longtime favourite on the fringe circuit, is back with an hour-long monologue about becoming a father. With his fast-talking and subject-changing delivery, combined with his penchant for working clean, he's an affable Ricky Gervais crossed with Jerry Seinfeld.
His subject matter tends toward the banal, but his nuanced humour comes less from the topics he addresses than from his wacky asides, followed by more asides piled on asides.
He wears an ultra-stylish Superman sweatshirt, and his only props are a baby doll and his son's stuffed toy, "Nancy the bipolar bear."
The jokes come so fast you could miss a third of them while you're laughing. Imagine the material Gibbs will have when that little rubber doll learns to walk and talk.
of the funniest comics on the Fringe circuit"
Review by Colin McLean, Edmonton Sun
This year, as always, thousands of Fringers will seek out Chris Gibbs.
The dapper and genial English pixie is consistently one of the funniest comics on the Fringe circuit and by now audiences know it. His act is one of the few that can leave an audience convulsed with laughter as he pyramids joke on joke.
I don't know if there are any tickets left, but, if there are, they won't last long.
If you've seen any of his previous shows (Antoine Feval/The Power of Ignorance) you know what I'm saying.
Gibbs is not a pie-in-the-face vaudevillian. There's always a cleverness and intelligence about his shows. He offers some sort of plot device - this one called, Like Father, Like Son? Sorry is about the terrors of being a new dad. But that is just the bare bones for 75 minutes of free-flight hilarity and comic digression.
He has a playful, self-deprecating manner about him. You want to run up and give him a hug, but don't dare. In fact, hold still, hold very, very still because if you attract any manner of attention, you could become part of the act.
When someone left his show the other night, he observed, "Oh good. Now I can bring out the good stuff."
Gibbs has the ability to tell a joke, generate a laugh and then continue only to return later and top the same joke. At times, the yuks come so fast, and you are laughing so hard, you wish you could buy the CD and run it again.
His rabbity mind jumps between Star Trek, Superman, Batman and having babies. He does a credible Marlon Brando and an even better Sean Connery.
"Everything I know about childbirth I learned at the movies," he observes.
"Such as, half of all babies are born in taxicabs."
He later hilariously describes the birth of his son. He wonders how a comic would do on the Titanic and describes his own funeral where he plans to plant a tape machine in his casket that says things like, "Joke's over now. Let me out."
(At least I think that's what he said. He talks faster than I can take notes.)
But you can't recreate on paper Gibbs's comic delivery or his effect on his appreciative audiences.
You have to see it to believe it.
(4 1/2 STARS)
cheeky but also honest and fresh"
Review by Mel Priestley, Vue Weekly, Edmonton
Not many actors can engage in a meandering, loosely-scripted performance and have it go smashingly well, but Fringe veteran Chris Gibbs does just that. Delving into a tangential collection of personal stories and anecdotes loosely centered around the topic of fatherhood, Gibbs manages to string together a cohesive narrative that is self-deprecatingly cheeky but also honest and fresh - not an easy feat given that the subject at hand isn't exactly new to the stage. Gibbs' showmanship is always entertaining and this year's performance does not disappoint. Equally impressive is the show's broad appeal: parents (especially new ones) will enjoy it for an empathetic voice, while others will appreciate the perspective it provides on one's own childhood experiences.