Three Clowns Meet at a Bus Stop…

I generally feel crappy about show reviews that are too late…in this case WAY too late…to be of any good. I feel a little extra-ratty about it this time, however, as I was ALL SET to catch MOUVING on day two of it’s four-day engagement here in Ottawa, at the beautiful Nouvelle Scene Theatre.  They’d even been kind enough to give me media status, which for an Anglo know-nothing like myself is definitely an honour.

But then I went and got my times mixed up, missed the show, and didn’t end up seeing it until late on day three.  THEN I was too busy (read: lazy) to do a writeup before the final performance, and now days and days have passed…sigh.  But, a show is a show, and this merry clown epic, a co-production of Satellite Theatre and Houppz! Theatre (presented here in Ottawa by Theatre la Catapulte) deserves talking about, even if it’s too late to help the good citizens of Ottawa .  But hopefully, this fantastic and fun show will make the rounds elsewhere.  It deserves to.

Starring Isabelle Roy, Mathieu Chouinard and Marc-Andre Charron, MOUVING is not so much a story as a series of wonderful skits revolving around a disparate trio of mostly-silent (at least in words) clown-style characters, starting with Chouinard’s uptight Grum.  Stranded at a bus stop, he hums and frets, trying to find the perfect placement of all his luggage, when along comes the smiling, flirty Bitz (Isabelle Roy).  It takes some doing to gain his reluctant trust, but with a peppy ‘Chin-Chin’ and a few aggressively offered marshmallows, she manages.  When Charron’s playful Horton makes his scene-stealing appearance, the audience is already primed and ready for some good, honest foolishness, and we get it by the bucketful.

Our three actors are clearly very skilled performers in a few disciplines, and it was hard for me not to flash back to Mi Casa Theatre’s amazing INCLEMENT WEATHER a few times during this show.  The slick simplicity of their gags, from the amazing song-and-dance ‘seduction’ number, to the Buster Keaton-worthy dinner scene, is wonderful to watch.  And Claude Fournier, the superb onstage musician is a one-man foley crew, providing nearly perfect comic accompaniment to the antics that abound.  There’s real magic in the air by the wonderful end of this show…a really special night at the theatre that, yes, is fun for the whole family.  And as it’s mostly silent, it doesn’t matter if you speak French or not.  Clown, it turns out, is a universal language.

The program lists no specific writer, saying only that the show is a collective creation of the 3 actors and Fournier, plus Etienne Bayart and Dan Watson  To all, Bravo, it must have been an absolute BLAST creating this one. And special thanks to Sylvain at Catapulte, for being so cool and forgiving about my terrible sense of timing.  Won’t happen again, dude!

Peace, love and soul.

The Visitor (and Winston)
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