man, but lots of laughs"
Review by Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal
When you take your seat at the Varscona Hotel, you'll notice Chris Gibbs right away. He's the bulge behind the curtains directly in front of you. It's his green room, you see. He runs the lights, starts the music and has a self-deprecating, digressive tone that leads you to believe you're in for an hour of mild comedy that might elicit a chuckle or two. Until it starts to get darker and more awkward, and you find yourself helplessly laughing at horrific anecdotes, disturbing balloon tricks and odd observations that lead to absurd conversational cul-de-sacs.
Gibbs is a born-and-bred native of London, England, now living in Toronto, and he's got lots to say on topics like accents, inadvertently mocking the homeless, condolence cards and self-help books. He does this in such a polite manner that you're unprepared for the sucker punch behind it, just as you'll likely be unprepared for the result of his one piece of physical comedy, one that has a sting to it. Often Fringe plays, especially one-man shows, can sag a little in the middle; this one was taut and funny all the way through.
(4 1/2 STARS)
simply the most solid bang for your comedy buck going."
Review by Dean Jenkinson, CBC
In my humble opinion, Chris Gibbs is quite simply the most solid bang for your comedy buck going. This Brit-turned-Canuck packs as many big laughs per minute into his hour-and-a-quarter stand-up show as anyone.
Is it "about something?" Not really. Gibbs talks about Canada, being a British immigrant, his dad's funeral, and sympathy cards, among other things. He also does some funny balloon animals, performs some improbable acrobatics, and muses over some props he brought along.
On paper that might not sound like a five-star show, but believe me when I tell you - if you ask me "I want to see something funny; what should I see?" ... this is the show.
Funny, funny, funny.
Review by Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star
That's gibberish with hard "g" - as in Chris Gibbs, an English expat who's made Toronto home. His one-man show has earned a well-deserved reputation on the fringe circuit for keeping audiences laughing pretty much non-stop.
Looking like the archetypical Brit in a conservative olive green business suit and tie, Gibbs opens the show by performing some truly impressive physical stunts before huffing and sweating his way through a strong hour-long routine that touches a range of unexpectedly hilarious topics, including German accents, sympathy cards, "inbred" royalty and the Toronto Maple Leaves (which is, after all, more grammatically sound). Deliberately tentative and twitchy, and darkly gleeful at times, his hand-wringing style and sotto voce asides are comic stand-up gold.
Review by Colin McLean, Edmonton Sun
For any onomasticians (someone who studies names) who may be reading this tract -- the pronunciation is Gibber- ish (as in Chris Gibbs), not Jibb-er-ish.
Chris Gibbs is a dapper, genial English pixie who consistently is one of the funniest comics on the Fringe circuit. And by now audiences know it. He inevitably plays to sold-out houses -- that is if you can find him tucked away as he is in the Bennet Room of the Varscona Hotel.
His act is one of the few that can leave an audience convulsed with laughter as he pyramids joke on joke.
If you've seen any of his previous shows you know what I'm saying. Actually, Gibbs has not been here for three years or so and this time out his performance is a bit different. He has told us of experiencing his first child, he has espoused the power of ignorance and related the adventures of a bumbling proto- Holmesian, Antoine Feval.
Now he is returning to a previous career -- that of stand-up comic (although he promises a dramatic show-within- a-show).
Wacky though he is, Gibbs is not a vaudevillian. There is always a cleverness to his shows. He can be ridiculous and intelligent at the same time -- not an easy marriage of techniques.
Given the sophistication of his presentation, it's hard to imagine he got his start creating balloon animals as a British street performer.
Gibbs' timing is extraordinary. He's not given to the grand gesture but more to a well-chosen minimalist form of expression.
Mind you, he was also a gymnast and has been known to enliven a show with an impressive back-flip or two..
He comes across as an everyman Tom Hanks, albeit with a rapid-fire mind that ricochets off everything around him like a human Gatling gun. He has a playful self-deprecating humour, pompously setting himself up and then puncturing his own balloon.
I could tell you about his ingenious introduction but I won't because you gotta be there. He tells us he is not going to embarrass anyone or tell sex and racist jokes.
Does he stick to it? Well, I wouldn't bring my German mother-in-law. He tells us he hasn't been here for a while because he's doing more TV. Repairing them, that is. He hilariously compares Canadian, English, German and American accents.
You start laughing in the first few seconds and don't stop until -- well, you gotta see that big climax.
(4 1/2 STARS)
self-mockery, ridiculously clownish physical comedy and
an extremely keen observational wit"
Review by John Kendle, Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg
Oh, where to begin? At the beginning, I suppose… let me explain… Chris Gibbs is a transplanted Brit, a talented improviser, acrobat, street performer, actor and comedian who does and says funny things in hilariously self-deprecating fashion. He comes on in suit-and-tie, admits his fondness for chocolate cake and, just when you think he’s sincerely explaining what’s about to happen, he’s actually doing it, with laugh-riot results.
And that’s his magic. Gibberish is a remounted (though thoroughly updated) version of a one-man show that won Best of the Fringe honours here in 2002 and it’s basically a tour-de-force presentation of all the man’s talents — bumbling self-mockery, ridiculously clownish physical comedy and an extremely keen observational wit (wait for his bit on the French word for ‘bats’). Don’t miss it.