Well, one more day and two more plays, and I’ve done what I failed to do this time last year…I’ve seen every show in the YOUTH INFRINGEMENT lineup. Okay, I only missed one show last year, but considering how sweet the price point is and how the schedule shifts and changes shape from one day to the next, I hardly think I can be excused. So, apologies YI 2010, I hope this makes up for my slacking, at least a little. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The first show of the night was a little late in starting tonight…not due to any technical glitches or behind the scenes drama, mind you. No, it was rather because the lineup for tickets was SO long, they had to hold off in order to get everyone in. This, as I understand it, is just about the best reason there can be to delay a production. Cheers to the fest for drawing in such a packed house! That first show, and my 6th of the festival, was Amy Zhou’s FALLEN: THE BOOK OF SAMAEL. Directed and light/sound/set designed by Arts Courts mainstay Nicolas Alain (today guest-starring in the production as ‘the corpse’…he does good work), FALLEN is a hardcore gangland-style retelling of the ‘War in Heaven’ bits of the bible (aka: the good parts). Will Lafrance (recently of ZASTROZZI) plays Samael, one of the Brotherhood who has an epiphany about the ruthless nature of the orders he gets from the mysterious Poppa by way of Michael, a very fired-up Sami Botros. All manner of hi-volume shenanigans ensue as a result, with the ‘angels’ picking sides and things getting bloody right quick. It’s an over the top, occasionally campy piece of theatre packed with expletives, Batman references, pop tunes, cap guns and the excellent and scene-stealing beard of Keir MacDonald (also seen in THE SUMMIT this fest). The large cast have great fun with the material…I was personally pretty impressed with Bubba Vien as the good-hearted Raphael. And props to Lafrance for double duty as the fight director…good scraps near the end, too. Did I mention the violence?
A quick break then for reset, and I ran into yet another of the mentors for the series, this time the ever lovely Bronwyn Steinberg (you’re coming to her Fringe show, MOMMA’S BOY, aren’t you? You should). We had a brief chat afore the house loaded up again, for what was to be my final bit of Youth Infringing for this year (aww). But happily, I went out on a very high note, courtesy of Rebecca Garcia’s second show of the festival, QUEEN FOR A DAY. A fun and witty romp about two duelling birthday girls and the one caught in the middle, and starring the triple threat of Danielle Savoie, Tess McManus and Hillary Downey…I guarantee, ALL names to watch out for. This was a wonderful, colourful and hilarious little show, very cleverly directed by Lucy Collingwood, and made me want more. I honestly almost stayed to catch Garcia’s THE GAME AND HOW TO PLAY IT, especially as Smooth Tim Oberholzer had joined Bronwyn and myself (as we enjoyed the musicl stylings of Cory T and Tony A in the lobby), but quite frankly, the AC in AC just isn’t what it needs to be, and that place was getting WARM. So, with reluctance, I stayed out as the doors closed on the next show and, after a very nice meeting with fest producer Madeliene Boyes-Manseau, I took my leave.
I had a grand time at the YI this year, and am rather tickled at how good the houses were for most of the shows I saw. And, of course, it’s great to see the young’uns getting all riled and fired up about theatre. It turns out the Kids ARE all right. And on that terribly cliched, cheesy note, so long for this year, Youth Infringement, it’s been a slice. See one of you at the Fringe( and no, I’m not telling you which show I voted for)! Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)