Sketch comedy is a Fringe mainstay, and the charmingly funny Pack Animals proves why. Created and acted by Holly Brinkman and S. E. Grummett, the sketch show combines cheeky Canadiana, cutesy singing, and frank yet funny discussions on queer identity and sexuality all within the premise of a Scouts-like summer camp with some serious feminist leanings.
Pack Animals is definitely geared towards a twenty- and thirty-something audience, and if you fall into that Millennial age range you’ll find a lot to enjoy. Their recurring bit where they recreate the iconic Hinterland Who’s Who—special shout-out to the virtuosic recorder playing—but profile the various types of men you probably don’t want to bring home somehow evokes both childhood nostalgia and unsavoury memories from the club. The accuracy is part of what makes it so funny—we all know men like that. The animal puppets add a lot.
The show is also a charming, if raunchy, musical comedy. Their centrepiece song is “Mansplain to Me,” in which they humorously sing about the phenomenon of mansplaining with spot-on accuracy. The song also stands out as a piece where the two actors step out of character to talk about their real-life experiences. The duo are capable of touching love songs too, namely Grummett’s solo song about desiring a same-sex and not-too-serious relationship at summer camp. The show also unpacks big topics in fun ways—it might contain the first example of performance theory explained through a ukulele song, something that we definitely needed.
Pack Animals is an unapologetically feminist, queer, and absolutely hilarious camping trip through the woods. The show, in all its daring risks—there are, I imagine, only so many plays where faeries make love to a woman—is what makes Fringe worth checking out.
This article originally appeared in Capital Critics’ Circle and has been reposted with permission. Read the original article.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.