The Accidental Humour Co. is back with Happy Whackin’ Jim McCrackin, an action flick that starts on the big screen and spills out onto the stage of the Edmonton Fringe Festival. William Bamfield is disenchanted hit man Jim McCrackin, knocking your socks off with the paring knife launcher hidden up his sleeve. Cliff Kelly is a genius at splitting his personality as he plays identical twins Bradley and Steven Bishop – one a gin-soaked detective, the other simply caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. And Amanda Blair is cool and collected as Victoria, a woman who knows how to get what she wants and isn’t afraid to hold your mother as collateral. McCrackin is out to finish his last job if he can only get over his irrational fear of felines; Victoria is out to get even and willing to call in the ninjas. You’ll be swept away by stellar special effects and multimedia like none you’ve ever seen at the Fringe. From start to finish, this show kept me on the edge of my seat. Don’t miss it.”
~ Jen Hoyer of SEE Magazine
Captivating work by its lead actor, sharp writing and impressive staging set this comic riff on action movies apart from the chattering pack at this year’s Fringe.
This production is the latest offering from Edmonton’s Accidental Humour Co., the troupe that hatched a small hit at last year’s festival with For the Love of a Zombie. Once again the comedic action takes place partially via live performance and partially via projected video. Part of the play unfolds purely on stage, part purely on screen and sometimes the stage and screen action interacts. Sounds like a sure formula for gong show glitches, I know, but the production I witnessed went off without a hitch.
Edmonton’s William Banfield, sporting a Groucho Marx hairdo, plays Jim McCrackin, a veteran hit man reflecting back on his last job. When a mixup in identities brings his chosen profession a little too close to home, McCrackin is forced into a bit of soul-searching. With his insouciant derring-do and his sharp patter, Banfield creates a sympathetic and amusing anti-hero — a cooly confident killer with a mother fixation and an aversion to cats.
Cliff Kelly is also a delight as a rogue homicide cop straight out of the Sonny Crockett school of hambone overacting, and serves double duty as the cop’s missing twin brother; while Amanda Blair fills the role of the femme fatale with the heart of coal.
There’s plenty of gunfire and explosions, and action and thuggery galore, including an attack by a horde of black-clad ninjas.
It’s a wildly exuberant romp, as solid an hour of light entertainment as you’re likely to find this Fringe.”
~Richard Helm c/o the Edmonton Journal
“Happy Whackin’, Jim McCrackin: we called it early, and it turns out to be one of the most entertaining shows this year.”
~Alistair Henning of SEE Magazine
Comedy is all in the timing, and this high octane noir—styled after Tarantino & Ritchie—is perfectly paced. Most of the fun comes from the actors on stage working with video, and difficult transitions are done as well as one could hope, but the schtick is also a distraction that makes you lose focus wondering if they will pull it off. And they do. The expertly cut film and stage combat make up for the mildly strained performances and this go big ensemble have created an original work that is fun, engaging and wonderfully put together.”
– Lee Boyes of Vue Magazine
“Happy Whackin’ Jim McCrackin is one of the most interesting theatre experiences at the Fringe.
William Banfield plays the title role of Jim McCrackin, a ruthless hitman who loves his mother and has a weird fear of cats. Victoria, played by Amanda Blair, is Jim’s cold-hearted and sultry boss, while Cliff Kelly rounds out the cast doing double-duty as a renegade cop and his missing twin brother.
The uniqueness of this production comes in the seamless transition between stage and screen, leaving the audience so engaged in both the characters and the execution of the play’s special effects.
Combining classic noir acting with 70s action movie violence (reminiscent of the Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage”), Happy Whackin is a comedic take on the classic tale of betrayal and revenge, with a solid storyline to boot. There’s no denying why this is such a festival favorite.”
~ Brnesh Berhe of Marker Magazine
“Tonight, Dad took us to a play. The play’s name was happy whacking Jim mcracking. I really liked Jim Mcracking. It was fun to watch because of the violence. there was tons of swears! I cannot wait until the next play/movie! This was written by Oliver Finlay.”
~ Oliver Finlay – age 12
“Tonight Dad took us to a play. Happy whacking Jim mcKracken. I liked when the ninjas attacked. I didn’t like the play at the start My favorite character was Jim Out of ten I would give it a Nine! The play/movie was very well done!”
~ Gibson Finlay – Age 8