2012 Edmonton Fringe Village of the Fringed Review: Pest Control

Now this is more like it.

If you're looking for a light-hearted comedy romp that just tells a simple story well, Pest Control should be right up your alley. Gordo (James Hamilton) and Henry (Cat Walsh) are a quiet couple living in a quiet home. Until they get...a mouse.

After Gordo's attempts to catch the mouse fails, Henry insists they bring in a professional exterminator: Twitch (Trent Wilkie). Twitch's rough demeanour and insistence on lethally bringing the mouse to his own brand of justice conflicts with the quiet tendencies of the couple.

Then two things drive the story forward: the Mouse (Brett Lemay) reveals to (only) Gordo that he can talk, and Henry and Twitch fall in love with each other. What ends up happening is a bit of hilarious gags (and some neat ways of incorporating the mouse-human scale differences) where Gordo tries to thwart Twitch's more and more effective traps unaware that the longer he keeps the exterminator around the more and more he's losing his wife to him.

Brett Lemay's ability to physically portray the human interactions with him is the highlight of the play. Twitch is meant to come across as this wild and crazy politically incorrect rogue who says and does crazy things as he gets the job done, but in reality he's far more tame than most of the people I know -- indeed I know a couple of Trents alone who would put this man to shame. The CBC crowd was probably in shock, I guess.

The play doesn't linger too long on any plot point for it to become stale, and yet nothing in the play feels rushed or ill-thought out. The gag with the cockroaches at the end seemed a little forced, like the 60 minute mark was approaching and the author decided its wise to cut everything short, but other than that this was a good story told well with competent performances that didn't try to get more showy than the material allowed for.

Final word: More fun than cleaning rats out of a Medicine Hat waste facility, but its too late for you to see another showing anyways.