Been a busy few days, and getting busier…as mentioned, the other day I headed out west(boro) to sign up for an entry level acting course at the OSSD, as I’ve been threatening to ever since I first caught the theatre bug three Fringes ago. Hit the second Crosstown Traffic while I was in the neighbourhood…chatted with good guy owner Mike, asked about the new issue of Cinema Sewer, and picked up a bootleg Nancy Sinatra DVD. Did Bridgehead. Then home for a spell to watch the weather. Would it hold..?
It seemed so. So I headed out again, this time in an Easterly fashion. De-bussed at Rideau just befor Nelson to stock up on Jameson’s at the monstro-LCBO before setting out to hit Strathcona Park for Odyssey Theatre’s THEY ALL DO IT. I trekked about for a good while before I realized, ‘you know, I’ve only ever been to Strathcona Park once, and I’m not entirely sure where the fuck it is, exactly.’
A half hour before showtime is a bad time to think these thoughts. I pressed on.
Eventually I stumbled/chanced upon the park in questioning it, mostly because I recognized the cool stonework from JESUS CHRIST VAMPIRE HUNTER. Wandered a spell before actually finding the play area…I entered at just exactly the wrong point for spotting it, but nevermind, it was a nice night for a walk and the sun was lovely off the water. And the ducks..! You should have been there.
Once I found the place I payed up and entered, and was prtty impressed with the setup. I’d never really known about Odyssey or their cool outdoor stage before, and…well, it’s pretty damn cool. I like finding out wicked new stuff about my town. Not that Odyssey Theatre is NEW…this is their 24th year, and I’m clearly massively ignorant. Let’s move on.
I took a seat up near the front of the stands, flipping through the program. I was immediately dee-lited to discover that Kelly Rigole was in the production. Ms Rigole was in the spine-crushingly wonderful Fringe show THIS IS A RECORDING last year, along with Third Wall’s Simon Bradshaw, so I already was anticipating a fabulous time. Soon enough, a swell young gal came along to instruct the jackasses among the audiences to shut off their car alarms and other noisemakers, and introduce the show, a new play by one Janet Irwin, based on Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE.
The floodlights dimmed, the music soared, and my first ‘Theatre under the stars’ night began. And…spoiler alert…it was fucking wonderful. It’s hard to know where to start, since there wasn’t really any aspect of this production that I wasn’t thoroughly giddy over…the story was a merrily classic bit, with jaded elder Antonio trying to convince his lovestruck young friends Franklin and Wilder that their devotion to sisters Lili and Lark was doomed to failure. The sisters, meanwhile, pined away for their lads (awaiting a sign from ‘the Goddess’ that these were truly the ones for them…so they could, y’know, get busy and all) while dealing with their nosy caretaker Despina (the utterly magnificent, and masked, Kelly Rigole). I’d say she stole the show, but that’s not quite accurate…EVERY actor, in his and her turn, stole whole scenes as they waded into them with full-on campy gusto. Emma Hunter’s Lark was admittedly a particularly hilarious turn. And Ben Clost as the other masked figure, Antonio, made a great sparring partner for Rigole’s goofily lusty Despina.
A byzantine and suitably hilarious plot is launched in the proceedings for Antonio to try and prove his rather bleak romantic worldview to the lads, setting up the question of just what the advice of self-proclaimed ‘experts’ is really worth.
The whole thing is an utter delight, and if Ihad more time free I would gladly see it again…kudos to director Paul Griffin for a crackerjack show. As it is, I left seeing this gem kinda to the last minute…although you still have one more day to catch it, if you haven’t seen it already (and if you’re reading this blog post the day I write it, which is, let’s face it, doubtful. But I tried!). And I can guarantee that I’ll be back for more Theatre under the Stars in Strathcona, same time next year. In the meantime, I’ve got JAMAICA FAREWELL tomorrow, an appointment at the GCTC on monday, and something called KILT next week..? Shit, I’m really back into it. Felt like a long time away.