Faerie Tale Theatre

So I did indeed end up seeing Japanese supahgroup THE ZOOBOMBS last night at the Dominion Tavern.  I’m extra glad my old chum Pender dragged me out, as it turned out I really needed a night like that (shall I call the day I’d had ‘frustrating’?  Yes, let’s be charitable and call it that).  As for how odd it turned out that I saw a Japanese band what must have been mere hours before Japan itself got rocked by the most devastating quake in a century, well, I’m trying not to think too much on that one.  I hope the ‘Bombs loved ones are safe and well, I hope for the world to rally and pull together like it should, and I hope people stop using this disaster as an excuse for pretentious, self-serving faux-pithy comments on Twitter.  Moving on.

Tonight was, after a little unexpected break, theatre night once again here at the Visitorium.  Or rather, at Centrepointe Theatre (my first time, can ya believes it?), with my Sister and Brother-in-law in two, for the Orpheus Musical Society production of INTO THE WOODS.  This was ALSO my first Orpheus production, so I was excited aplenty for this’un.  I love me a good musical…hell, I even love at least one bad one (STRANGERS IN PARADISE, yo!).  So in I wandered to the rather huge Centrepointe theatre, took a flip thru the program…didn’t recognize many of the names, as most of the actors specialize in musical theatre.  The music and lyrics were by one Stephen Sondheim, no doubt some aspiring local talent, Ottawa U maybe.  Good luck in the future, Stevie!

So the story, based on a book by James Lapine and a hodgepodge of classic fairy tales, centers on the converging tales of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood, plus an (I think) unnamed Baker and his wife.  The story is told,with the exception of an on-stage narrator, almost entirely in song, which the gang pulls off pretty amazingly well.  And the music, well, it’s…it’s…holy shit, they have a fucking ORCHESTRA here!  Seriously!  They have actual people under the stage, making music!  I’d totally forgotten they did that.  Pretty cool, I gotta admit.  Reminds me of that Cellist I used to have a mad crush on.  Ah, Verity…

But nevermind that, on to the play!  The threads take some time to get together…Cinderella (Skye MacDiarmid, classy and solid throughout) seeks out, and subsequently runs from, her Charming Prince.  Little Red Riding Hood (a vibrant and hilarious Mackenzie Salhany) skips to Grandmas house with an ever-vanishing basket of sweets.  And dimwitted Jack (Graeme Parke, making like a musical Gilligan) reluctantly tries to sell his beloved Milky White cow (Susanna Atkinson, in what may already have a mortal lock on this year’s award for scene-stealing performances).  Enter the Witch (Nicole Milne, thumpingly entertaining), who sends the Baker and his Wife (Shaun Toohey and Emily Reid) off on a quest that brings everyone, slowly, together.  For better or fow worse…

The play is long at 3 hours, with 2 distinct acts.  The 2nd half gets, shall we say a touch grim (Grimm?) in places, and I have to admit a couple of the songs in part 2 seemed to drag.  But others were perfectly god-damned rousing…the main INTO THE WOODS refrain is still running though my head, and the two duets by the Princes (Darren Bird and Dennis Van Staalduinen) are killer good fun.  Powerful themes of personal responsibility,consequence and trust were expertly cracked upon, all the players were top-notch, the effects were pretty cool, and…well, yeah.  It was a good, fun time!

That being SAID, I’m not entirely sure after this if Broadway-style musical theatre is really my bag, exactly.  Maybe the size of it all was a little intimidating, but I may for the most part stick to musicals on a COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS kinda scale.   Then again, the next Orpheus show at Centrepointe is based on THIS:

All right. That IS tempting. Damn you, Orpheus...

Still two more days to catch WOODS at the CT, for 40 bucks (and you get plenty for that, believe me).  So do what you gotta do, and so will I…which right now means posting this and hitting the shower so I can make it to the GCTC in time for my shift.  A Theatre nerd’s work is never done, apparently.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

PS: Almost forgot, Shoutout #2 to my OSSD classmate Julie, who represented at this performance as well.  Good on ya!  Now let’s get the rest of them out to a show…

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