Current Shows ~ Past Performances
"Buffoon Buffet full of whimsy,
Review by Elisa Barnard, the Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)
May 15, 2005
a match made in heaven, the joining of Sherry Lee Hunter's physical
comedy with Michael Hirschbach's circus arts. Both have always been
strong vocal and physical performers even without a bag of tricks. In
Buffoon Buffet they create a family show that keeps kids hooked with a
bag of tricks and narrative events, and keeps them giggling especially
towards the end.
was a great time at this show,' said my five year old daughter, 'because
I even got some souvenirs.' She used the word 'awesome' to describe
Hirschbach's balancing of a giant tennis racket on one finger. Awesome,
silly, imaginative and fun, Buffoon Buffet, which wraps up today at 1
p.m., at Alderney Landing, has an almost Beckett-like premise.
innocent clowns, Milton (Hirschbach) and Baguette (Hunter) are expecting
all their friends to arrive for Buffoon Buffet Day, a giant annual party
usually marred by Wilbur's explosive gifts. A sudden weather event,
Hurricane Juanita, leaves them without guests and with nothing to do
except sit on a giant chair. This comes after a lively intro with
bicycles and diminishing and expanding balls and racquets, with a Jest
in Time Theatre whimsy and playfulness. Finally, unable to resist
temptation, Milton and Baguette open up their presents which are dolls
of themselves. When Milton gets the tiny Baguette doll everything he
does to her impacts on Hunter, so when he bangs the dolls head on the
chair Hunter goes "Ow!"
the characters reminisce about their parents it allows Hunter to revive
her much-loved Ed sketch from Jest in Time Theatre's repertoire, and
kids seeing it for the first time and mothers seeing it for their
umpteenth time, love it. This is the sketch where Hunter is asleep in a
tiny bed, snoring, and her teddy bear, Ed, wakes up.
at puppetry here is matched by Hirschbach's when he neatly
inserts a previous sketch of his own involving a jack-in-the
-box who comes insanely alive. Hirschbach holds the box as he
manipulates the puppet, who turns out to be Wilbur!
While Hirschbach's skills at juggling, puppetry and playing two
recorders at once are amazing, Hunter holds her own as a
consummate physical performer. Both are expressive and lively
Review by Stephen Pederson, The Chronicle Herald
May 19, 2006
...Both Hunter and Hirschbach are well-established
professional mime and clown artists. As Baguette (Hunter) and
Milted (Hirschbach) they ravaged the stage with slapstick
humour, physical jokes and puppetry, while maintaining a running
commentary about a birthday party which Hurricane Juanita
prevented anyone from attending.
When Baguette opened the door, the sound of the wind rose
exponentially and Hirschbach drew a delighted burst of applause
for his one arm horizontal hand-stand illusion of the wind
blowing him across the room.
The show was...full of short sequences of skits inspired by the
opening of birthday presents in boxes which contained surprise
gifts of unruly creatures like a sleepless teddy bear and an
Clown humour with such polished artists never fails for
audiences of any age.
HATFUL OF PODGER
"Hatful of Podger is the highlight of
Kids' Theatre Fest"
Review by Marilyn Smulders, the Daily News (Halifax)
first, my kids were disappointed. I had billed the guy as a clown and
the man standing before them seemed pretty ordinary, with only a
battered bowler hat on his head to make him stand out from the crowd.
he began his show and there were no more complaints.
Davis Hirschbach's A Hatful of Podger is a wonderful vehicle for this versatile
and charming performer. Hirschbach tells a story about an eccentric
uncle - the former owner of the battered bowler - all the while saluting
the vaudeville era of entertainment.
juggles, he plays the musical saw, he can ride a unicycle. With a rubber
face made to bring on laughter, Hirschbach endears us to Uncle Podger, a
clumsy old man who may not be able to hang a picture without inciting
disaster, but who can balance a peacock feather on his chin or play two
flutes at once.
highlight of the show was Podger's first and only appearance on TV, in
which he wrestles with a demonic jack-in-the-box. My kids were still
chuckling about it hours later. You can't go wrong with A Hatful of
Podger. And the word from the junior critics? Five year old: (serious)
"He's very skilful." Three-year old: "He's as silly as
Review by Elissa Barnard, The Chronicle Herald
(Halifax), May 3, 1998
Hirschbach has created a sophisticated, beautifully structured show
that combines his skills at juggling, unicycling and physical comedy
with story in A Hatful of Podger. Though the kids at Alderney Gate went
nuts for the 'tricks' that include playing a saw, conducting and
whistling the William Tell Overture, and being kissed by a
jack-in-the-box gone nuts ( a great part of the show), it was all within
the gentle, nostalgic context of an adult telling a story about his
mentor, his crazy, eccentric Uncle Podger, who played the vaudeville
circuit and was destroyed by TV. The magic for the kids amazed them
because they weren't expecting to be wowed every minute, a la busker;
the quiet moments made the comedy more powerful. Hirschbach is at the
peak of his powers in this finely crafted piece of work."
"Hirschbach hilarious man from
Review by Stephen Cooke, The Mail Star
(Halifax), August 29, 1997
stranger to Fringe Festivals, Michael Hirschbach's name is practically a
guarantee of some hearty laughs laced with a hint of the old clown
Hatful of Podger is a wonderful showcase for his many skills and winning
personality. Beginning with the beat of bouncy jazz, Hirschbach appears
like a human puppet behind a tall backdrop performing his absurd morning
ablutions in neon blue pyjamas. With the aid of some giant propos, his
simple acts of buffoonery with a fake leg and an oversize hair dryer are
just a prelude, warming us up for the main act - a remembrance of
eccentric Uncle Podger.
born clown, Podger may have had trouble with everyday tasks like hanging
a painting ("WW hat he lacked in skill he made up for in
awkwardness," Hirschbach muses), but he floated like a cloud on a
unicycle. Podger ids a typical oddball Uncle, with a bad joke for every
occasion and strange habits like whistling the William Tell overture
while conducting and imaginary orchestra.
further demonstrates Podger's musical acumen by playing two recorders at
once, and playing a mournful elegy on the saw. Hirschbach's physical
comedy skills are fully brought to bear during his portrayal of Uncle
Podger's unsuccessful attempt at children's television. A struggle
ensues with a rebellious, demonic jack-in-the-box in a moment of comic
mayhem that had the audience in stitches.
will love A Hatful of Podger but it will have extra meaning for adults
remembering those unique family members who have touched their
|Filled with a
swirl of circus skills, "Ha!" is a high-spirited celebration
of play. It's full of inspired lunacy, inventive props and quirky
paraphernalia. Visually exciting circus skills and audience
participation help create the wanton heed and giddy cunning of this
Suitable for all ages
"From the very beginning the audience was caught on
the waves of highs and lows experienced by the actor as he made his way
through the interview process with Cirque du Soleil. It was a wild ride
of anticipation, fear, exhaustion and elation."
The Guysborough Journal
Shift is an intimate, uplifting and funny behind-the-scenes look at the
discipline and chaos that goes into an intensive audition - in
particular, Mike's 1999 10-hour audition for the Cirque du Soleil.
Through humour and physicality the audience is plunged into the openness
and abandon of this careening, emotional journey.
This show has mature
themes, and is geared for older and adult audiences.
THE ADVENTURES OF BUMP FLINGO
Stephen Pederson, The Mail Star, 1994
Hirschbach's endearing show combining pantomime, puppetry,
juggling and clowning is back. Bump's adventures as he rises in the
morning, and starts a disaster-filled journey to the ACME Theatre is a
complete play. Hirschbach invents devilish mishaps for his
happy-go-lucky hero, but he's funny enough just taking a shower. Dressed
in red-and-white striped, dark blue overalls, a red single-breasted
jacket and a round, bowlerish hat, he falls, jumps, is pushed, pulled,
pinched and prodded as events explode into action around him. Hirschbach
creates a whole world of things - an apartment, a train station, a
traffic jam - with vivid clarity. A musical score composed by Matthieu
Keisjer adds a brilliant touch of sonic colour. This is a real family
show, highly entertaining for all ages."
Elissa Barnard, Chronicle-Herald, 1993
"Bump Flingo has a somewhat
European voice, a desire to be adored, and a funny sarcastic snap when
his volunteers aren't behaving. Hirschbach is skilled at improvising and
has a sense of timing and charisma to enchant kids."
|Fredericton Daily Gleaner, 1993
"Bump Flingo is an
acrobat/juggler/mime/unicycle rider and very funny guy. His very
expressive face and seemingly boneless body is always in motion.
Everyone in the audience, adults as well as kids, enjoyed his
|Bridgewater Bulletin, 1993
Bump Flingo delighted the audience with
his gentle humour, dancing scarves and unicycling agility. He explored
the art of the awkward using humour, the unexpected and physical comedy.
OLIO AND FRIENDS
"Olio and Friends is a marvellous
potpourri of mime, clown, juggling and magic guaranteed to enchant
every child in your life. "He's magic," gurgled one cherub
as Hirschbach/Olio balanced a broom on his foot during last night's
opening performance...Olio is the invention of a fertile performance.
Hirschbach is, indeed, wonderful. He captivated the children in last
"Olio and Friends were full of
surprises. They rode unicycles of all shapes and sizes, pulled yards and
yards of coloured scarves mysteriously from it seemed, nowhere, juggled
superbly in duets and trios - even with fire and turned fire into paper
flowers. Magic eyes glowed and danced in the dark, hands and coloured
balls leapt unexpectedly out of wooden boxes and much, much more - an
evening of enchantment and pure delight!"
|The Mail-star, 1988
'Hirschbach took the absurdly easy idea
of juggling lighter-than-air scarves to the limit of extreme difficulty,
combining wit, skill and clowning in a delightfully entertaining mix.
|The Olympic Winter Games (Calgary), Arts Programming
"Your ability to adapt to the
unique situations and conditions which presented themselves, while
maintaining a sense of good humour, was key to our success, and an
indication of your professional commitment - your performances were
of the highest quality"