So, I’ve been back in town for over a week now. I’ve seen shows at the NAC, GCTC and the Gladstone, three of our premiere theatrical installations, or whatever you call them. Majordomos? Whatever. I’ve been hitting the big timey joints, is the point, and it was time to get back to the nitty gritty. A little student-show action was what THIS Visitor needed (because, as we all know, that’s where the interesting shit starts getting stirred). I’m not at all sure what to read into the fact that it was PosterLoop that pointed my way.
It was during the intermission of AMELIA that I spotted the ad, on the hypnotic little screen that I can’t god-damn well resist staring at whenever I see one, for a new show I hadn’t heard about…a production of Moliere’s classic THE PRETENTIOUS YOUNG LADIES by a new mob, Obviously, A Theatre Company. The show was at that classic Fringe venue Alumni Auditorium over Ottawa U way, so there was really no way I could resist. And when I discovered that my May Can boys Cory and Tony were in it? Well, hell. I was in like Flynn.
I hit the Alumni on Saturday nite, the last evening of the show’s three-day run.A goodly crowd and I made our way inside, where a few of the actors were already on the multicoloured stage (and ya know I like it when they start off on stage), doing synchronized excercizes or just milling about in the background. They interacted just a bit with the audience as we made our way in, a sign of things to come.
The show began, and Moliere’s satirical jab at the elite got underway, with a very nice few twists indeed. The basis story involves a pair of gents, here played by the wonderfully adversarial Cory Thibert and Cody Zulinski, who have been rebuffed by the young ladies in question. The gals, Carol Sinclair and Annie Cloutier as Magdelon and Cathos, are a pair of effete would-be queens of the Paris scene, dolled-up and pushed around on rolling carts by their ever-suffering maid Marotte (Jackie Brabazon, who just might win my scene-stealing award for the year with this hysterical performance). Magdelon’s frustrated Father (Tom Way) is sick of the both of them, and doubtless not too upset when the lads’ plan for revenge hatches itself, in the form of their two costumed lackeys putting the moves on the gals with ever-more outrageous attempts at high-society foppery.
It’s honestly hard to point to just one or two things that struck gold with this show…from the opening moments of Cody and Cory viciously ball-stomping the fourth wall (as Cody refuses to say his first line until Cory says ‘LaGrange’ correctly), to the ridiculously dandified ‘young ladies’ of the title, Carol and Annie, taking turns out-preening one another on their carts. And Sean Sonier as the first lackey, aka the Marquis, performing ludicrously funny song and dance numbers based on his insipid poetry, is nicely matched when Tony Adams as the Viscount (lackey numero deux) struts on stage, pigtailed wig and all.
Much, much more damage is done to the wall betwixt audience and stage…Director Dillon Orr made the choice to attack the pretentions of college theatre students as well as Paris intellectuals, to great comedic effect. Personally, I was damn near dying laughing the whole time, and I weren’t alone. This was exactly the kind of inventive and fun show that I, myself, think more people NEED to see. I’m hoping the gang from OBVIOUSLY… will get together for more hijinks soon (remount, perchance..?). This was absolutely rock-solid, fun as Hell Theatre, and I wants more.
Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)