So, A MIDWINTER’S DREAM TALE from the GCTC and a Company of Fools is pretty much one of the most fun things ever since the invention of fun by John J.Fun, back in ’03. Let’s just get THAT out of the way right now. And then I’ll back up a shade.
Last night, I headed out to the venerated Oiving Greenboig Theatre on Wellington, to check me out some premiere night action (solo once again, as I’d already used up my Nadine Thornhill voucher for the week on THIS IS OUR YOUTH), for the aforementioned MIDWINTERS blah blah blah. I snapped on my red suspenders and premiere pinstripe pants and headed on out to greet the other papparazzi and fine folk of theatre. I was well met by Boss Barry Karp, then saw the Gladstone crew (John P.Kelly, Michelle leBlanc, smooth Tim Oberholzer and a few others) and numerous other dignitaries..it was clearly a night of some import. After some palaver and festive imbibements, I headed on in.
Now, I hadn’t been able to make the media call (which they’re STILL inviting me to! They haven’t caught on yet what a total fraud I am, so SHHH!!), and was trying to avoid any spoilerific views of the set so as to preserve the surprise. And I’m fucking glad I did…what a perfect goddamn winter wonderland (a phrase used more than once in the show, and rightly so) mad Ivo Valentik has cooked up for the fools, lasers included! If they could bottle his creative insanity and market it, it would be…I don’t know, Red Bull or something. Or Jolt. Remember Jolt?
Anyways. The set is fantastic,and once the show got started, I realized why that was so…because it HAD to be, to measure up to what the cast (and director Albert Connors) had in store. Playing on the Fools’ longstanding fast and loose relationship with Billy Shakes, the show is a weird Frankensteinian (Girltalkian?) mashup of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and A Winter’s Tale, with a couple of clowns thrown in because why the Hell not?
Our two red-nosed heroes are dry-witted Pommes Frites (Scott Florence) and shiny-object-attacted ‘Restes (Margo MacDonald), who, in their perfectly reasonable search for Ice Cream in the middle of an unending winter, stumble upon a bit of a Fairy brouhaha, between proud Queen Titania (the always wunnerful Kelly Rigole) and self-important Oberon (Adrian Proszowski), with devious Puck (the rather impressive and hilarious Jesse Buck) trying to keep the tenuous peace. What happens next is hard and not even desirable to describe, because you’ve got to see it for yourself…Choruses of dancing fairies, love spells gone so very wonderfully wrong, pop culture references, innuendoes, good tunes, and more than a few bouts of pole-licking (behave).
And while all the actors, chorus included, are phenomenal, the praise here has to be on Margo and Scott, our two key clowning fools Pommes and ‘Restes, on whose backs/jokes the show lives or dies. And it lives like nobody’s bizness, folks. These two clowns are pure magic, the same as the rest of this amazing show (directed by Alastair Connors), which is filled with enough genuine and silly laffs to turn any adult into the kid she’s always longed to return to. And that’s not even mentioning the improv bit that I dare not mention, that’s so insane that they couldn’t POSSIBLY keep it up for the entire run…or could they?
So, thank you, GCTC, thanks Company of Fools, thanks director Alhambra Connors…you’ve done so terribly well, I may have to get all sentimental on you, and bring my nieces to the show. Because it’s so beautiful, so warm (despite the snowflakes), and so uniquely funny, anything else would be a disservice. Kind of like not seeing it yourself. Way to raise the bar in the last month of the year…I really do appreciate it. And I’ll even be back for a few volunteer shifts. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…YAY!
Peace, love and soul, Fools,
the Visitor (and Winston)