The Scotsman 4 Stars
Eye Weekly 5 Stars
Now Magazine 5 Stars
Uptown Magazine A+

“It deserves more exclamation marks than the paper will allow, so thusly, if you can't get tickets, it is imperative that you either steal them or sneak in...more” - Terminal City, Vancouver NO PINTS (highest ranking)

“Cactus comes hotly tipped by the press -- and rightly so. This Australian one-man comedy is a riot, perhaps the only show in the Fringe that can be described as both ''Brechtian'' and ''pant-wettingly hilarious...more'' - Eye Weekly, Toronto ****1/2

“From the moment he slinks on stage sporting a blue suit he's got the audience hooked…Katz's manic, psychotic presence flips the traditional theatre atmosphere on its ear...more” - Edmonton Journal ****

“Many performers attempt to create comedy that's whimsical and bizarre. It's a difficult trick to pull off, and few succeed. Enter Australia's Jonno Katz, who absolutely nails this theatrical form…Take my word for it, CACTUS is a must-see. Jonno Katz is brilliant...more” - Times Colonist, Victoria **** ½

“This is just about the wackiest, most delightful and unique thing I've witnessed in years. Super-talented and spontaneous Jonno Katz, who hails from Down Under, slips seamlessly between a series of characters and their inner psyches…This absurd Mark Chavez-directed show was already packing them in over the weekend...more” - Ottawa Citizen. ****

The landscape of Jonno Katz's peculiar imagining is littered with shards of identity, spiralling desire and some genuinely good laughs. One of a handful of Comedy Festival shows that truly strives to enlarge the vernacular of comedy, Cactus takes its audience on a tour of a psyche that is, in turn, Lenten and lush. Splitting into cartoonish facets of a single identity, our wilfully absurd protagonist strives to make it through the desert of the self. A carnival of boundless imagining and endlessly mutating self, Cactus is something like the kicking love child of the Wachowski Brothers and Andy Kaufman. If you don't mind an untethered space walk in the orbit of the self, you'll be mesmerised by Katz's brave offerings.
- Helen Razer, The Age


Winner "Outstanding Solo Performance" Ottawa Fringe
Winner "Best in Fest" Winnipeg Fringe
Centaur Award Finalist, Montreal
Named in the Top 5 shows in Ottawa, Ottawa Citizen
Named in Top 6 shows Saskatoon

“a refreshingly honest tale of two brothers who are as different as video games and bananas." The Hour, Montreal **** 1/2

“The Accident is laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully well-put together. Katz’s tour-de-force performance makes The Accident without a doubt the best thing I’ve seen at this year’s fringe so far. Stunning."

***** CBC Winnipeg
****1/2 Montreal Hour
****1/2 Winnipeg Sun
"A" Uptown Magazine
**** Edmonton Journal
**** Eye Weekly
**** Edmonton Sun
"Highly Recommended" Toronto Star
**** Vue Weekly
**** Planet S
**** See Magazine


"Whatever it is, it is very funny and inventive, a fact not lost on the packed house, which laughed louder and with more frequency than any show I've seen this year." Edmonton Journal, Edmonton

"This one man stage show is brilliant! Using a bare minimum of props like his own clothes, a simple wind instrument, a bit of snack food and some paper cut outs, Jonathon Katz is able to weave a hilarious tale that has absurdity, cosmic zap, audience participation and a sense of sublime silliness to carry it through. It is a masterpiece." London (Canada)

"In 25 years, I don't think I've ever seen a talent more frighteningly funny than Epic World's Jonathan Katz. His one-man wonder Sex, Violence and the Meaning of Life from Australia is almost impossible to describe." Ottawa Sun, Ottawa

"Delightfully funny, it bristles with intelligence and imagination." CBC

"Katz delivers...full of madcap, seemingly unscripted energy. Katz breaks every rule of theatre I can think of."
Saskatoon Phoenix, Saskatoon

"This one’s a bath for the brain, a genuine fringe charmer." Georgia Straight, Vancouver


" playing with a really sophisticated kid...puts the play back in play-going...such a loose and skilled performer that he takes his time creating moments of skewed poetry, including one in which he almost convinces you that he can disappear."
- The Georgia Straight, Vancouver

"very funny 70's spy story is full of crackling wit and absurd asides...whizzes by with flair and panache."
- Gracing The Stage, Toronto

"Australia’s rubber-faced Jonno Katz is one of the most welcome Fringe regulars, and this show is a “dream team” collaboration with Mark Chavez (of Pajama Men fame) as director. Katz specializes in a tricky postmodern style of surreal slapstick, with lowbrow and highbrow elements bouncing off of each other—usually to dazzling effect. In The Spy, Katz plays a ’70s-era agent for Britain’s MI-6 who, while trying to stop an assassination, discovers that there is a Soviet mole burrowed deep within his own agency. There’s not a whole lot at stake here, but Katz, as always, is a master performer: whether miming a montage of superspy shenanigans or engaging in a totally gratuitous tropical whistling interlude, the man is devilishly funny. Chekov it ain’t, but this Spy will get you high. - Monday Magazine, Victoria


"This muddled metaphysical comedy/puppet piece would benefit from being less ‘meta’ and more physical. Jonno Katz, writer/star of this one-man show, is a charming sort whose physical prowess gives Jolly Roger an interesting edge. Nevertheless, this trip to the “Island of Phil’s Soul” lacks cohesion and does not capitalize on Katz’s strengths. The playwright’s corny humour does illicit some genuine laughs, but you can’t help feeling that his obvious talents as a physical actor/comedian would be better served elsewhere. Perhaps Katz’s skills would be put to better use in a more streamlined piece with a clearer point, but here he doesn’t shine when jumping from character to character. Often the humour just falls flat. His attempts at a harshly funny edge seem at odds with his sweetness, and this particular choice of subject matter seems ill-fitting." - Uptown Mag, Edmonton

"Jonno Katz popped over from Australia to do a Fringe show a few years ago and decided to stay and never leave Fringeland. A classy clown, mime, raconteur and now puppeteer, Katz tells wandering stories that eventually get somewhere but you won’t be sure how to get home, or where you left the car. You should be taking your bike anyway. In this installment of Katz’s peregrinations, he plays Phil, a man in search of his father who washes up on the shore of an island that is nothing less than the physical manifestation of his soul. Cue Mr. Roarke and his diminutive sex-fiend Tattoo. Roarke. Roarke. Such an Irish name for such a stupendously Mexican gentleman. While on this island Phil encounters a new friend, an inner demon named Roger who probably hasn’t got Phil’s best interests at heart. I’m guessing this will be a sort of comic spiritual Robinson Crusoe sort of number, but nothing like the DeFoe classic whatsoever." Only Magazine, Vancouver


Directed by Jonno

WINNER: BEST OF FEST – Winnipeg Fringe 2008

”Sage-Passant (under Katz’s skilled direction) brings Frank to life with a precise, subtle, and bravely understated performance. This is not light Fringe fare by any stretch (it should be billed as “comedy” only in the darkest sense). But it is a remarkable performance.” FOUR STARS, CBC Manitoba

“The writing is impeccable—perfect rhythms of humour, pathos, and wit. Jonno Katz’s direction is similarly laudable.”
FIVE STARS, Vue Weekly (Edmonton)

“A wincingly funny solo portrait of a quintessential English nebbish in a lad culture that banks machismo. For nearly a decade, the (very) English troupe Screwed & Clued has been touring Canadian Fringes with dark, driven, theatrically ingenious original insights into urban thuggery, Shakespeare's new England, the morbid streak in Pinocchio.... In some ways, this tense, exquisitely detailed little show, built from minute observation, is more brutal than any of them. It is also more poignant, as the expertly drab performance by Sage-Passant amply demonstrates. As directed by the brilliantly off-centre Australian comic actor Jonno Katz, Sage-Passant populates this canvas with an inobtrusive dexterity and precision that matches his writing. the melancholy Frank, stoical in his anorak; the maternal sadist to whom he's pathologically devoted; the manly 21st century blokes who can get a drink in a crowded bar by a kind of male semaphore.” FOUR STARS, Liz Nichols, The Edmonton Journal

“Writer/performer Justin Sage-Passant shows incredible emotional and physical range in this witty and poignant narrative about a mother and son’s near pathological relationship. By juxtaposing machismo with the indignity and embarrassments that constitute real life, he not only creates an intimate codependent mother-son dynamic but also explores lots of myths about masculinity." NNNN, CRITIC’S PICK. NOW Magazine

“Manners For Men is brilliant.” Paula Citron

“Manners for Men is a thoughtful study of the pathologically co-dependant relationship of an aged and deteriorating old woman and her caregiving son. The pace is slow and the mood melancholy and poignant. The success of the work is completely dependent on Sage-Passant's exceptional emotive abilities. What makes all this work is Sage-Passant's ability to instantly and believably switch characters and his minutely observed recreation of Frank's daily existence. The story is simple enough, but the detail is astonishing as the poor sod is brought to vivid life. I suppose there is very little hope for Frank - he'll never break out of his crummy bubble, but through a skilful performer, you do begin to care for him. The ending of the story is much in keeping with what has gone before but strikes a note of hope. For some, life will never be about the big victory. It's counted in the little ones that get you through the day. You won't forget Frank in a hurry.” FOUR STARS, Colin Maclean, Edmonton Sun

- “Any other shows that shouldn't be missed?”
- “Definately! Manners For Men by Justin Sage-Passant is one i would recommend. The main character is this heartwarming but horribly awkward young fellow who has absolutely no luck impressing women - not even his crippled mother. Sage-Passant subjects this guy to a horribly embarrasing bowel movement and then uses the incident as a catalyst for a philosophical exploration into the true meaning of manners and subsequently humanity.”
- “Well Natalie, from what i'm hearing this was a one man show with the actor portraying numerous characters, how successful was he at it?”
- “He did an excellent job portraying them. Actually his portrayal of his characters is what REALLY impressed me about this show. There was attention to detail that made both his physical and verbal transformations between characters seamless. Most importantly though, something he brought to his characters that has been a rarity at this festival was sincerity and earnestness!”
- “Why do you stress that as being so important Natalie?”
- “When a portayal of a character is not sincere the performance risks falling into charicature. In theatre, sincerity is a question of respect . As an actor or writer you must respect your characters. If an actor respects the character they will portray them in the most earnest way possible – this is evident in Sage-Passant's production.” CBC Radio, Afternoon Edition. Natalie Feheregyhazi. (Saskatoon)

“Sage-Passant is one of the best Fringe actors I have seen at creating compelling characters. By the time the play reaches its bittersweet conclusion, one really doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. The strength of Sage-Passant's performance lies in the fact that he is able to create both of these responses in his audience with equal intensity. This is about as fine a balance between humour and pathos as I have seen at the Fringe.” UMFM (Winnipeg)

“Justin Sage-Passant imbues Frank which so much pathos and eloquence, it’s impossible not to feel for him as he nervously navigates the queue at a local pub, or encounters a lad’s mag for the first time, or weathers yet another shameful scandal involving a ladies shoe store and a game of pocket pool. And by play’s end, as Frank ponders the true measure of a man, Sage-Passant has made it clear that heroes come in all sizes. Heck, some of ‘em even come with skid marks.” FOUR AND A HALF STARS. Winnipeg Sun

"In this unabashedly British tragi-comedy, writer/performer Justin Sage-Passant transforms himself into various characters to tell the pitiable story of a social outcast nicknamed “Skidmark Frank,” a man still living at home with his crotchety old mother. Performed at the 2007 Fringe as Manners For Men, this tighter, funnier, more cleverly named version makes Frank less disdainful than in the previous incarnation. Sage-Passant’s meticulously worded monologues are full of situational humour (be warned, they’re also graphically bowel-obsessed), while director Jonno Katz helps Sage-Passant’s physical humour by juxtaposing the repressed Frank with more highly animated characters, like a flamboyant hairdresser and a pub bar-keep."
Now Toronto, Toronto


Directed by Jonno Katz

“This is a thing of true beauty, a bare-bones one-woman show that tells a rich and detailed story with little more than accents and mannerisms. The titular Sputniks are Russian-Jewish intelligentsia who, after the war, decide to flee Russia for, well, anywhere else, with their young daughter in tow. Little Katya is our guide, taking us through her parents' marriage, their pasts, their views and their tragedies, all the while constructing a tale of tremendous life and wispy fragility. There are performers and then there are performers, and the magnificent Elison Zasko proves she's that second one.” **** The Hour, Montreal

“Elison Zasko gives a flawless performance in her solo play The Sputniks. Her physicality is superb and she effortlessly moves from one character to the next, inhabiting them completely and with conviction. And the tale she creates them to tell is intelligent, insightful and intriguing. The Sputniks tells the story of a family of Russian-Jewish academics who, for political reasons, are forced to flee the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, they find that living as refugees comes with heartbreaking hardships, and freedom is in fact a very costly commodity. From their old home in Russia into the brutal conditions of a refugee camp, and from their new home in Canada to a sanatorium in Vienna, every step of their voyage is marked by an honest expression of experience. This play is a fine example of how one lone woman can create a complete world on a small, sparse stage.” **** CBC, Winnipeg

“Elison inhabits each character from the pores on her face to the tips of her toe nails. Elison Zasko is a cute, twinkly-eyed redhead, but she might be able to convince you that she is a quirky, old, Russian man.” The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon

“Elison Zasko easily plays all three parts, jumping from curious child to scheming dad to neurotic mom without missing a beat. Katya is the perfect vehicle for the story, particularly once the play reaches its poignant and heart-wrenching ending.” ****1/2 Monday Magazine, Victoria

“Lately, few shows on the Fringe circuit have aspired to depth and beauty. The Sputniks does. In her solo offering, Elison Zasko embodies a family of intellectual Russian Jews. The daughter, a girl named Katya, leads us through a maze of flashbacks, some of which are drolly funny. We see her father introducing himself to her mother by yelling, “Donít sew a pocket on your vagina!” “It ís witty in Russian,” Katya explains. Ultimately, however, the play is about the family’s tough experience as refugees in Austria and then Switzerland. Much of Zaskoís storytelling is straightforward, but she throws in a poetic twist that will have you rethinking the show long afterward. Zasko is a charmer, and her show is generous.” Georgia Straight, Vancouver

“There is an interesting twist at the end of this solo show which I didn't expect. But all in all, the performance by Zasko was excellent. She timed her pauses well, her Russian accent was natural, the transitions were perfect. It's hard to hold an audience's attention for 60 minutes, but she did. She narrates the story of the Sputnik family, Russian Jews, academics, who feel pressured because they are Jewish and taking over the jobs of the Russians. They escape the iron curtain, become refugees in Vienna, move to Sweden, and finally to Canada. I'd give this show 10 out of 10.“

“The Sputniks is a one-woman play that is nothing short of brilliant. Even more impressive: this bittersweet story of a Soviet family’s escape from the Iron Curtain is, at times, downright hilarious. Without a single prop, and no set (or shoes!) to speak of, Zasko captivates the audience from the first word. For the next 50 minutes, she relates the story of the Sputniks, from the first meeting of Mr. and Mrs. Sputnik to the events that brought them to Canada. The hardships and strife are juxtaposed with quips, love and an incredibly moving climax. Zasko’s flawless embodiment of every character is remarkable. A gifted physical actress, she will pull at your heartstrings, make you laugh out loud and leave you forgetting she was the only person onstage. Accompanied by Raylene Campbell’s lovely original compositions, The Sputniks is highly recommended for those who want to forget the frigid temperature and be immersed in an hour of pure enchantment.” Rover Arts, Independent Review, Montreal

“A hit at Fringes across the country last year, Elison Zasko and Jonno Katz’s The Sputniks is a little beauty, another show that was “in, but not of” the Fringe collective, and which handily survived its confines. Moscow-born Zasko brings us back to the Soviet Union of the early ‘60s, where long lines, jars of homemade pickles and the restorative power of soup make up daily life for shrugging, tolerant Russians. Zasko ís charming as she rattles off the many republics and capitol cities within her vast homeland, funny when she describes the ‘line-up tactics’ used by her parents for the endless queues (predictably, where they first met), and compelling as she details their eventual escape and emigration. Mime plays a big part in Zasko’s performance as she smoothly shifts among the various roles, all of which she infuses with humour and warmth. Mother was a struggling writer, and dad, feigning knowledge to impress, described the essentials of any good story: “You have to have an introduction, a conclusion and a climax ... not necessarily in that order. Zasko’s command of the stage and her characters are impressive.” Montreal Mirror

Montreal Improv Comedy Without Annette Blog:
Best One Person Show: The Sputniks

There were many fine one-person shows this year. Some were funny flights of fancy, others were ingenious bits of storytelling and yet others were character-driven slices of life. The Sputniks was all of that. And it broke our hearts.

Best Closing: The Sputniks

Elison Zasko deftly laid and set the trap. We all

became better people for falling into it. Checkmate.


Directed by Jonno Katz

“Aren't we lucky that this little performer landed in Winnipeg this summer? With the slightest movement, a raised eyebrow or a shift of the hand, Cara Yeates goes from impressionable to confident to smarmy to elegant as a host of colourful characters. This fantastic one-woman show has to be the stand-out production of the festival. Her use of puppets, her skilled transformations and her creative use of multimedia come together in a well-oiled machine that is firing on all its comedic cylinders. Don't miss Bombay before it says "bye-bye." * * * * * Uptown Magazine – G.B

“Bye Bye Bombay is the first treasure I have seen at this year's Fringe Festival. Cara Yeates gave a tour-de-force. She incorporates puppetry, dance, singing, lip-synching, mime, and the effective characterization of approximately a dozen characters…Yeates is a revelation from the beginning to the end. Bye Bye Bombay is one of the best shows at the Fringe…Do not miss Bye Bye Bombay!” * * * * * CBC Saskatoon - Jason Dubray

"This one-woman show puts the multi into multimedia, running the gamut from ancient puppetry to YouTube videos. Gori (Cara Yeates) is a Canadian of Indian ancestry; given the Bildungsroman storyline that unfurls, it's hard to resist the notion that Yeates's performance contains more than a smattering of autobiography. Poking around in her attic, somewhere in deepest, darkest Canada, Gori discovers the face of her mom beaming out from a vintage Bollywood poster. Feeling some cultural stirrings, she promptly heads off to sunny Mumbai to dig up her roots. Yeates either plays or holds the strings for a variety of characters, from an Indian woman with a clipped British accent (who rescues her from tourist hell) to Raul, a lecherous man who tries to apply a pot of nipple balm to her chest. At a fancy party, a guy offers to sweep her off to a Bollywood film studio, and she agrees to meet him the next day at McDonald's. ("I am loving it.") Memorable costumes abound, including an outfit that looks like it's fit for intergalactic warfare; in one beautiful (and instructive) sequence, Yeates folds herself neatly into six yards of white sari." * * * * TIME OUT MAGAZINE, New York City

“Yeates narrates the journey like a dark fairy tale or a big adventure, using music, dance, animation, and puppets. Most ingenious is the use of video—projected recordings help to fill in the bustle and color of India, and YouTube videos of the young heroine's travel journal serve as an arresting commentary. The multimedia approach serves the piece well, and Yeates comfortably navigates transitions between these various elements… Bye Bye Bombay is successful as a journey; through an intense multi-sensory experience, Yeates brings us with her halfway around the world and back.”
-New York

“Brava to actress Cara Yeates for stitching a gorgeous sari of a show from the simplest components. I was utterly absorbed in her fascinating tale, which mixes truth and fiction so fearlessly that what is real and imaginary blend into brilliance…This whole hypnotic hour of power is an absolutely intoxicating introduction to the magical, mysterious muddle that is India.”- Vancouver Sun, Peter Birnie

“One of the best things about the fringe is all the places you get to go…Bye-Bye Bombay does the transporting better and more effortlessly than most…." * * * * * Calgary Herald

“Honest, thoughtful and original. Bye Bye Bombay is both well-written and well-executed; as touching as it is funny.” 
* * * * EYE WEEKLY - Chris Bilton

“Yeates proves it doesn't take an hour of introspective dialogue to pull off a captivating transformation…Yeates has a spunky comic timing and delivery, but she's even better at physical characterization. She goes from elegant tour guide to smarmy director without blinking." * * * * Times Colonist

“Writer/performer Cara Yeates delivers a fast-paced, passionate retelling of her experiences in the Bollywood film industry. The versatile Yeates gives definition and weight to almost a dozen characters, all without confusing her consistently enthralled audience. Using an array of techniques from animation to puppetry, she creates a detailed, accessible world that still feels grounded and personal.” * * * * Now Magazine, Barry Hertz

“This show, from Cara Yeates, is wonderful to watch. We follow a young woman as she travels to Mumbai and accidentally starts working in Bollywood. The show is full of wonderful movement, character shifts, puppetry, music that becomes part of the show, all in all a very engaging 60 minutes. Yeates is a treat to watch. Word of mouth is a powerful thing in this festival, so I'm betting this one is going to start selling out soon, so if I were you I'd book your tickets early.”
– Blog TO, Megan Mooney

“Good writing by Yeates and a strong one-woman performance, combined with crisp direction by Jonno Katz, excellent sound design and some clever…visual projections make Bye Bye Bombay well worth seeing.“ * * * * The Westender

"...Terrific coming-of-age comedy...a smart and engaging show about self-discovery, Bollywood and mothers... If you haven't been part of that audience yet, you should be. Yeates plays multiple parts, from the teenage heroine whose journey to India is also an internal travelogue to a series of lecherous men and film industry hangers-on. Funny, poignant and energetic, her performance includes multi-media elements, a couple of marionettes and an elegant lesson in how to dress in a sari."
Ottawa Citizen, Patrick Langston


Directed by Jonno Katz

"Still, for the sake of those in search of a truly original experience
of theatre, I would strongly urge all those who have not yet done so
to make their way to Natalie Krasnostein's amazing performance of her
one-person cabaret, In God's Bedroom. She describes it as a one-woman, one-God, one-act show featuring God, King David, Natalie Krasnostein and others in a singing, dancing,
story-telling expose of love, suffering, abandonment and joy. Directed
by Jonno Katz, Music by Adam Starr. Everything and more you ever wanted to know about God's relationship with the stiff-necked tribe of Jews is here for the asking.

It's funny, it's moving, the songs – original and performed by Natalie
and accompanied by the understated, immensely talented Adam Starr –
are astonishing. It's also extremely witty and surprisingly sophisticated. Don't miss
it. It's theatre as it should be. Quite exhilarating and midrashically
illuminating. You'll find some wonderful ideas explored and performed"
The Jewish News, Melbourne

"IN God's Bedroom is an ambitious performance piece written and performed by Natalie Krasnostein and directed by Jonno Katz.  Both are graduates of the John Bolton Theatre School, whose focus is on the LeCoq style of training, a physical training embraced by great actors such as Geoffrey Rush. Live music and composition is provided by the wonderful Adam Starr, who has a great presence on stage and whose interaction with Krasnostein was one of the highlights of the performance. Krasnostein literally places the piece in the imagined bedroom of God. As you enter the small performance space, upstairs at Eurotrash in the heart of Chinatown, you are confronted by an oversized bed. Starr, dressed in leopard skin pants and red wig, is seated and is strumming away nonchalantly on his guitar. This evocative opening image holds promise, thankfully, for an interesting and unique evening in the theatre. 
And although I felt the piece to be in an early stage of development, with all the problems associated with an "undercooked" performance, it doesn't disappoint. Krasnostein plays a number of characters, the central one of which is God "herself". Her aim is to examine and reassess the well-known biblical stories and characters. The piece has a lot of potential to develop into a multi-layered work that makes an incisive comment on the stories that have influenced our lives. However, at the moment, the script reads too much like a direct re-telling of the tales, directly from The Book. She has, however, added a number of humorous moments, including the all-dancing King David, which shows Krasnostein's potential as a writer and performer. Her strength is certainly in her movement ability. I am sure with more time and thought, this excellent idea can be crafted into a powerful performance work.
Theatre Review, Melbourne