ByCommittee Productions irreverently presents
Playing With Matches

written by    Tim Condon, Paul Merrifield, Sandy Ross
Debbi Abbott, Tim Condon, Andrea Edison, Andrew Gibbes, Tim Lewis, Gregory Mate, Darren Schmidt, Jacqui Vandale
won Funniest Show | 5,000 Fringe voters

Two Stand-ups Sit Down to Write a Play
What happens if two stand-up comics turn their pens to a theatre plot instead of punch lines? If you see Fringe entry, Playing With Matches, you'll find out. London comedians Tim Condon and Paul Merrifield were encouraged to put their heads together by Merrifield's incisive wife, Sophie.
"Hey", she said, "why don't you two idiots write a play?" In comedy, that kind of comment is high praise.
"Preview audiences are laughing all through", says Merrifield. "Total strangers say they hear good things about our show, and are excited to see it for themselves."

They Meet
Two years ago, this odd couple – Tim and Paul, not Sophie and Paul – didn't know each other. After a play at the Arts' Project, Condon crashed Merrifield's cast party. Tim and Paul spent an hour ignoring other guests as they shared notes on comedy. Seems the idiots were destined to meet. Maybe this Fringe show is the reason.

They Write
Merrifield, a right winger (not hockey) and Condon, a leftie, don't agree politically. Condon hugs trees that Merrifield would rather cut down. The irony: Merrifield, by day, tends grounds at Springbank Park. "London hates sunshine. What's with all the stupid trees?" he rants. "Sure, they're pretty, until they fall on your power line!"
Condon sees the humour, but disagrees, which is usually a core requirement of comedians. "You have to be comfortable as devil's advocate. Comics know everything is flawed. Leno goes after Democrats and Republicans in the same monologue. Creating this play let me see things from the other side of the fence."

They Get a Woman
Midway through the process, the duo discovered something missing – a legitimate female 'voice'. Enter Sandy Ross, a woman who earns her daily bread writing business copy. More than up to the challenge, she takes the piece to even higher heights, providing among other things insight on the depilatory habits of the fair sex. We won't ruin the gag about when leg bleaching turns ugly. She also tries to take credit for a lot of the unrefined language peppered throughout the script. "Don't let the dimple fool you", she winks.

You Enjoy Their Fringe Folly
Playing With Matches, which runs Aug. 2-10, takes shots at everything: from sex to Canadian icon David Suzuki. "We think this play has something to offend everyone", Merrifield quips. Condon adds: "Some comedian once said that if you're not offending someone, you're probably not very funny either." This love story offers new ideas and twists on some old themes. Oh, take note that it contains some language that would make George Carlin blush. Actually, the writers have included only three of Mr. Carlin's seven words you can't say on television, none of which are of the compound variety. As this play's narrator says, "those of you with sensitive ears may want to stuff your programs into them." That said, this play is about more than a few words you can't say on TV. It's a look at life through a different lens, and there's a love story at its core like none you've seen before.

by Tim Condon

© 2008-2018 – web page courtesy of Sandy Ross (.ca) and Word's Worth