Sunday was a great day, a GREAT day! How great? Ýou know how it started off? I ALMOST talked to Emily Pearlman!!
Exciting, right? You know it is. I mean, we didn’t REALLY talk, but just about..! I knew it was going to be a special day, yessiree. In fact, the reason i had this brush with fame was on account of we were both getting set to see the first show of the day, REDHEADED STEPCHILD by Johnnie Walker, and it was a dynamite way to start any day. Johnnie pretty much dazzles with a variety of characters telling the central story of sweet ginger preteen Nicholas, his alter-ego Rufus, and tomboy Stepmom Mary-Anne. There’s plenty of costume changes, a musical flourish, some Shakespeare, and a simple relateable story at it’s rather large heart. Walker is killer talented, and director Megan Norwich (and they both appear to have worked together before, one assumes quite well) doesn’t miss a step. Highly recommended, and my day was well underway.
Serious munchies ensued after that…I’m still fighting off some malicious illness, after all, and I require fuel, so a pitstop at the Java House for some schnitzel was in quick order. I scarfed that good stuff down, and hustled to Passe Muraille for show numero two of the Sunday, THE SAD AND CAUTIONARY TALE OF SMACKHEADED PETER by Simon Glass. A big ensemble piece telling a bombastic, fantastical and sleazy epic of a drug-drenched messiah’s attempt to create a paradise in the concrete slums of Thamesmead. Weaving mysticism, paranoia, and a greek-style chorus together with great performances to ask the question, if all else has failed, why not give smack a try? A downright brilliant stroke of modern myth, Glass must have been channelling Grant Morrison at some point during the writing of this beast. I god damned loved every filthy minute of it.
Snuck off right after that to by myself a sweet new hat…my freshly bald head has gotten a little charred in these Summerworks lineups, so some protection was in order. I got compliments on it within half an hour of purchase, so you know my luck in this town is changing. Nothing beats a snappy lid,after all.
Me and my dandy chapeau returned to the Factory for AFTER SHOCK by Evan Tsitsias. Now THIS is a tricky show. The story of a woman returning to her somewhat ‘rural’ family after being remade and seemingly reborn into an angelic vision on some sort of extreme makeover show (it’s never really delved into that much), Anna finds her new looks have a strange effect on all her troubled family members, and even more so herself. And you think it’s going to be a charming country-style comedy, and settle in for a particularly witty episode of HEE-HAW. And slowly, by ever more disturbingly shocking increments, before you know it you’re smack in the middle of A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and there’s nothing you can do but sit there and watch. Which you should, on account of it’s utterly wonderful. A drastic indictment about the superficial nature of change most people accept, there will be some squirming in the audience, but it’s worth it. The actors are fantastic, and I’m really getting impressed with the talent on display in this fest. AFTER SHOCK maybe takes a shade to long to wrap things up, but whatever. It’s great, go! Me and my hat both agree.
Next was back to the Passe Muraille again (after a delicious stop at New York Subway for a hearty beef burrito…yummy!) for a show called RIDE THE CYCLONE by BC troupe Atomic Vaudeville. It was a pretty long line…I even noticed Melody Johnson, Miss Caledonia herself, just behind me! I was too chicken to talk to her, naturally, but still, more brushes with greatness! That boded well. And when we finally got inside…
It’ll be hard to write a full review of this song and dance ensemble spectacle, because I’m not entirely sure how to stretch WOW!! out into a whole paragraph. May I just heartily urge everyone to see this show now, at this steal of a price, while you can. I was blown away…ALL the leads were dazzling talents, the songs were varied and catchy, even the set and the costumes were a delight. They put their backs into this one, folks, and it shows. And poor Jane Doe! I just wanted to give her a hug the whole time! (I still do..call me..?)
Sigh. What a great day. I called it after CYCLONE, I was getting beat and was in no shape to mount a 10:30 assault. Besides, going out on a high…who can ask for more? So back to the hostel (after cheap mixed drinks…it’s practically right next door to me..!) for a good night’s sleep, and now I’m off to find a good bacon and eggs in this town. I want another great day…and I’m gonna get it. See ya, Toronto,