Frantic reunion promises big laughs
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Nov 28, 2009  |  Vote 0    0

Frantic reunion promises big laughs

Groundbreaking sketch comedy troupe celebrates 30 years

City Centre Mirror

Davisville Village resident Dan Redican is set to return to the forum that helped turn him into a well-known figure on Canada's comedy scene.

The Toronto comedian will join forces with former troupemates Rick Green, Paul Chato and Peter Wildman to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of their groundbreaking sketch comedy troupe, the Frantics.

The group, best known for offbeat, absurd sketches such as 'Last Will and Temperament' (also known as 'A Boot to the Head') and 'Ti Kwan Leap' and bizarre characters such as Mr. Canoehead, rose to prominence at comedy venues throughout the city.

Their skewed look at life, coupled with their tireless work ethic, landed them both a CBC radio show and the short-lived television series Four on the Floor.

Redican said the four members crossed each other's paths often before teaming up, adding they were a natural fit together.

"We were just a bunch of like-minded people who wanted to do sketch comedy," he said. "Paul Chato was sort of angular and goofy, Rick Green was a jokemeister, Peter Wildman was an actual sketch performer with a lot of manic energy and I was more laid back. It was a perfect storm of comedy styles."

Despite their distinctive styles, the troupe quickly found a rhythm and managed to write countless hours of material without letting egos get in the way - a rarity in the comedy business.

"Our system sort of precluded head-butting," he said. "We would all rewrite each other's stuff and our one rule was that the audience is always right - we let them be the final arbiter as to whether something was funny."

Through their painstaking writing and editing process, the Frantics developed a group identity rather than simply being a diverse collection of funny guys. That, as well as their eagerness to write material at a breakneck pace and willingness to find opportunities to perform, helped spur their success.

"When we get together, we all just sort of fall into this Frantics voice," Redican said.

Though the troupe went their separate ways after Four on the Floor's television run ended, they did reassemble on occasion for shows or to record albums.

Redican, meanwhile, took the opportunity to return to his roots and experiment with puppeteering, a staple of his act in the days before the Frantics came about.

"I got some work with the Muppets (on The Jim Henson Hour) and then spent some time working on The Kids in the Hall," he said.

From there, he got a gig as a story editor with the popular show Puppets Who Kill and, when the show got the green light, he was quickly tabbed as the human lead.

"I was mostly known as a writer when John Pattison created Puppets Who Kill," he said. "When the time came to make a pilot, John asked me to be the star. Well, the fifth star - it was four puppets, then me."

More recently, Redican has worked behind the scenes on Little Mosque on the Prairie. He is also working on an operatic film for the CBC and penning a Broadway play. As much as he enjoys the behind-the-scenes work, he said the stage always has its allure.

"I've always thought the most fun part is playing in front of a live audience," he said.

Redican will once again hit the stage with his Frantics mates for a one-night-only reunion show to mark 30 years as a troupe. The show will feature some old favourites and some newer numbers, and Redican said the show should, as always, help the Frantics live up to their name.

"It's going to be really high-energy," he said. "That's always our way of going about things."

The Frantics reunion show will take place at the Royal Cinema, 608 College Street, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7. For tickets or information, visit www.thefrantics.com

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