A Coyote’s Christmas

…hey, did anyone else think that VIMY review of mine was kinda lame?  Like it was a REAL review or something, and just not a helluva lotta fun?  I don’t know.  I’m feeling self-conscious about it.  Just in case, here’s my micro-mini-backup-review of VIMY:

Okay, moving on.  Today was a day off, which if you’re me, is kinda horrible because I just have nothing going on, I mean NOTHING.  Days off just serve to remind me what a tedious, crushing, lonely grind of despair life is, and I end up just sitting there dreading work for two days until it’s time for THAT drudgery to start up again, oh GOD…

Yeah, time for some theatre.  Every now and then I learn.  And while I was downtown this afternoon, I stopped by the NAC and picked up a ticket for tonite’s preview performance of NATIVITY.  Now, it’s been a helluva long time since I’ve seen a show at the NAC…I think it was back when I was about 10, and my parents dragged me to see A CHORUS LINE for reasons escaping fathoming.  So I was stoked to set foot in the grand old gal again, this time with all my wits about me.  I showed up about 45 minutes early, what I THOUGHT was good time for tonite’s general admission entry.  I think I was about 120th in line.  Welcome to the National Arts Center, yokel.

But not to fear, that theatre be extra large, and not only did I get in, your dear Visitor managed to snag front fuckin’ row, hellz yeah!  NAC kingpin Peter Hinton gave a quick shoutout before the show, and then it was game on.  And what a grand game it was.

NATIVITY is, it turns out, a weird show to try and describe.  Try and imagine Benny Hill guest directing a Christmas episode of THE MUPPET SHOW and you’ll be on the right track.  It starts off straightaway trashing the 4th wall, and never lets up from there.  Peter Anderson’s play, as directed by one Leah Cherniak, is a full frontal assault on the audience, who are not only acknowledged in this production, but talked to, insulted, threatened, and occasionally mistaken for food.  There’s singing and dancing galore, backed up by a chorus of angels.  A few timely, in-jokey references, slapstick chase scenes, and enough bad puns to make Frank Gorshin green with envy.

Admittedly, not as difficult as it sounds.

It’s not ALL fun and games…even as talented a cast as this would be hard pressed to make the whole ‘kill all the babies’ part of the story funny, but it all balances out quite nicely.  Grand performances abound, even with the unique script spoken entirely in rhyming verse.  Marcel Jeannin does delightful double duty as a dimwitted thief and soldier, Ron Kennel’s donkey is a hysterical treat, and Karen Robinson positively radiates presence in her own dual roles.  I was personally giddy to see Alex McCooeye, co-star of my Summerworks fav’rit ME HAPPY, doing some awesome scene-stealing as Slobberjaw the coyote.  And Rejean Cournoyer absolutely levels the place as King Herod, reveling in his grand, self-obsessed evil.  He’ll be picking scenery out of his teeth for DAYS after this one, and we all loved every moment of it.

There’s more, of course…Jean leClerc’s wonderful appearance as the angel of death (and a horse), Laara Sadiq’s feisty/fretting Mary, little Samantha Lin as what must be the most adorable sheep in stage history…I could go on, but won’t.  I had an ever-loving blast at NATIVITY, kudos to the cast and crew.  The show runs until the 23rd, tix starting at 22 bucks, and it definitely qualifies as fun for the whole family.  Check it out if you will, I think you’ll be tickled.  Just my opinion.

Now for a little rest afore the Gladstone tomorrow…hey, maybe days off aren’t so bad AFTER all.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

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