Toronto Fringe Festival: "Underbelly Diaries Redux"

Published: July 6th 2010
in Culture » Stage

Underbelly Diaries Redux poster

Underbelly Diaries Redux, the one-man brainchild of comedian Aaron Berg, is the culmination of many years of work, and also working out.


It tells the story of a guy whose life is shaped in equal parts by Judaism and Scarface. The language may be offensive to some, but the comedic effects of Berg’s self-deprecating humour are difficult to ignore.


The play opens with Berg reciting the brachot that a Bar Mitzvah delivers before reading from the Torah while simultaneously pumping some iron, just in case we get the wrong idea – this is not going to be your typical coming-of-age story.


A Scarface poster hangs in the background, along with an American flag and an Israeli flag in the foreground. He tells us that the message he gleaned from both America and Scarface is that to succeed in life, you need to take what’s yours; it’s the American Dream, not so much the Jewish dream, which would explain the discrepancy between Berg’s life and that of his traditional Jewish family.


For the entire 80-odd minutes I found myself in awe that one human being could memorize so much material and deliver it so flawlessly, though I suppose it only makes sense, having been a five-year-long work-in-progress.


A former bodybuilder who was addicted to steroids at one point and did some questionable things for money, Berg lets us into the stripper-infused underbelly of Toronto and does so with a sense of humour, affording him some distance from the situation.


Will some be uncomfortable with the language and content? Absolutely.


But who said there was anything comfortable about achieving the American Dream… or even that it had to be American?




Director: Dwight McFee


Cast: Aaron Berg


The Toronto Fringe Festival runs until July 11. For more information, visit For more information about Aaron Berg, visit

Related articles: (stage, toronto fringe festival, fringe theatre, underbelly diaries redux, aaron berg)

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