I had a bit of a lousy day in Montreal on Monday, I have to admit. It was my own fault, let’s get THAT out of the way right now But I didn’t have a plan, and as I was lurking about from coffeeshop to coffeeshop, writing reviews of my previous day’s batch of Montreal Fringe shows, I found myself getting a wee touch lonesome. It was starting to wear on me, and souring my mood, and by the time my first show of the day rolled around I was a grumpy, touchy-feely mess. It was actually kinda bad, and as I trudged down to the MAI, I didn’t know how the Hell I was gonna get myself out of this one.
Pretty goddamn fortunate, then, that the first show in question was KITT AND JANE: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO THE NEAR POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE from Snafu Dance, the follow-up to the legendary and darn-near miraculous LITTLE ORANGE MAN. For those of you who haven’t seen that original show, your lives ARE the worse for it, it’s true, but you don’t have to have seen it to get the new show. And you NEED to see KITT & JANE, trust me, and not just because I felt like it saved my life that day, made me forget all my troubles, and made everything wonderful with the world again.
Starring the divine Ingrid Hansen as Kitt, now a few years older than when we saw her last, entering her teens and ever discovering new things about the world around her. Not all of these things are good, however, like Terminator seeds and species extinctions. So, with her best (perhaps only) friend Jane (Rod Peters Jr) at her side, they hatch a plot to hijack the grade 9 assembly and deliver an urgent message to the school populace about the impending apocalypse, how it came about, and what the heck to do about it when it arrives. Using song, shadows, recordings, cool lighting and just maybe some cake, they do just that. It’s a lesson the audience will not soon forget.
Directed once again by the talented Kathleen Greenfield, KITT & JANE stands strong and alone as a marvellous and magical piece of storytelling, even without any knowledge of its celebrated preceding show. Ingrid Hansen’s unstoppable, ocd-driven Kitt is one of the most memorable Fringe characters pretty much ever, so matching her energy was a daunting task. Rod Peters Jr manages it perfectly as the doting, soft-spoken ‘Jane’, often stealing a scene with hardly more than a shy downward glance. And the relationship between the two of them, which starts with a hilariously bossy Kitt basically pushing poor Jane around, turns into something much, much sweeter and complex. The whole story makes a smart and funny blend of environmental activism and adolescent awakening, and emerges as one of the most joyous and unforgettable theatrical experiences you could hope for. Personally, I had pretty high expectations of this show after LOM, and they were met, smashed and surpassed. Which is pretty much what I thought Kitt would do to them. And with Jane at her side..? Anything can happen…and it sure won’t be boring. Peace, love and soul,