Peter 'n' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel
When: Opens 8 p.m. tonight, continues through Oct. 20
Where: Phoenix Theatre, University of Victoria
Tickets: $13 to $24 (250-721-8000)
They're an award-winning comedy duo tearing up the Canadian fringe-theatre circuit. Surely celebrity and fortune are in the offing?
Peter 'n' Chris hope so. Then they could give up their day jobs.
Peter Carlone, 50 per cent of the Vancouver comedy duo, jokes their game plan is "like a movie and then fame - in the next month or so."
Carlone and Chris Wilson are University of Victoria theatre graduates who have returned to their alma mater to perform Peter 'n' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel. So far, the 27-year-olds have enjoyed enviable stage success with their sketch-comedy performances.
Peter 'n' Chris regularly win "best of the fest" awards on the fringe circuit, where they routinely sell out. They were nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award, won a Just For Laughs Best Comedy Award in Montreal and took the audience choice award at the Toronto International Sketch Comedy Festival.
Tangible success. Yet being fledgling comedy stars in Canada hasn't allowed them to fly away from their non-showbiz jobs just yet. Away from the stage, Wilson serves tables at a Cuban restaurant in Vancouver.
Carlone still works at Vancouver's Science World, where he does some performing and some "customer service-type stuff." On the plus side, he was able to give up his other job: ripping tickets at a downtown movie theatre.
They're not quite there yet. However, Peter 'n' Chris are getting close to full-time performing/writing careers. And Wilson notes he's progressed a long way from an early - and rather unhappy - day gig: being a knife pitchman in the Bay and Zellers in Victoria.
Good training for an aspiring actor, surely?
"It kinda was," Wilson said with a wry smile. "And it was degrading as well."
Peter 'n' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel is the fourth show they're created. It's a comic spoof of Hardy Boys-style detective adventures and scary flicks like The Shining and Psycho. The show debuted last year at the Victoria Fringe Festival, subsequently winning awards and selling out on the national fringe circuit.
Carlone and Wilson are excited to remount it in Victoria, as they believe the show has improved since its première.
"Victoria got to see the very first version. It was still very shaky, a newborn sort of show. Now we've done it 70-odd times or something. It's gotta be a little better," Carlone said.
Their comedy influences are diverse. Carlone likes the sketch comedy series Mr. Show With Bob and David. Carlone grew up enjoying British programs Mr. Bean and Monty Python's Flying Circus. He'd like to follow the Monty Python gang's career trajectory one day, shifting from sketch comedy to movies.
Carlone and Wilson believe Peter 'n' Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel would make a good short film. Their goal here is modest: independent and low-budget. "The next step for us is, how do we reach more audience for not a lot of money?" Carlone said.
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