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Review: Peter N' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel

Fringe hit funny, but doesn’t transfer to large stage at Phoenix Theatre.
Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson are back at their Alma Mater with their show, Peter N' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel until Oct. 20.

University of Victoria alumni Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson have met considerable success on the Fringe circuit since graduating from the theatre program in 2008, garnering a Just For Laughs Best Comedy award at the Montreal Fringe and a Canadian Comedy Award nomination for best sketch troupe in 2012 alone.

Now this comedic duo brings its hit play, Peter N’ Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel to its alma mater, kicking off the Phoenix Theatre’s 2012-13 season with the annual Spotlight on Alumni production.

Hungry Heart Motel was written last year during a 48-hour playwriting competition. Peter N’ Chris were given three props to incorporate: a CD that only plays Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” an old window screen and a line of dialogue: “The dirtiest things are pennies and hotel mattresses.” The result was a 15-minute rendition of Hungry Heart Motel — a sketch-comedy-like spoof on horror movies and mystery novels.

After adding 40 minutes to the show, they premiered it at the 2011 Victoria Fringe where it won Best Comedy. It also took home Pick-of-the-Fringe in Vancouver, Best-of-Fest in Winnipeg and the audience choice award at the Toronto SketchFest that year.

Needless to say, these two have the Fringe figured — a tight script, a somewhat inconsequential story, a simplistic set and lots of laughs.

And while that works for make-shift Fringe venues, it doesn’t transfer effectively to the more formal, and spacious, academic stage.

And although Peter N’ Chris are hilarious and enthusiastic, their opening night performance felt a little forced, which can most likely be chalked up to nerves. These two physical comedy geniuses have performed Hungry Heart Motel more than 70 times and it’s been a hit with audiences across the country. The crowd at the Phoenix Theatre Thursday night was no exception. M


Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel

UVic’s Phoenix Theatre

Oct. 17, 18, 19, 20 at 8pm, Oct. 20 at 2pm (with sign language interpretation)