Off on the longest dash of the Ottawa Fringe festival this lovely Monday evening, all the way to the Mercury Lounge (which made for about a 6 or 7 minute trip…eat it, every other Fringe out there!) for another of the many musically-themed shows in this years lineup. Couldn’t think of a better venue for it, too, and a good crowd was already forming for this one as I found a comfy stool for a good view of the action…and full bar in operation, that’s a selling point right there!

An unexpected but very welcome addition to the Fringe from local musical legends the Peptides, LOVE+HATE is their first foray into a more theatrical experience (although the show is at least as much concert as play) being an already pretty theatrical bunch of performers to begin with. You might recall seeing a couple of them sharing the stage with Tim Oberholzer in the recent smash production of HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Gladstone. Well, the whole Peptidean mob of them take to the stage for this musical extravaganza, featuring four main instrumentalists (Scott Irving, David Campbell, Andrew Burns and Alex Wickham) providing the sweet melodies for five colourfully decked-out crooners (Claude Marquis, DeeDee Butters, Rebecca Noelle, Olexandra Pruchnicky and Dale Waterman) to hit the stage, belt out some amazing songs and perform a few short sketches along the centralized love/hate theme.

LOVE+HATE from the Peptides (image by Bonnie Findley)
LOVE+HATE from the Peptides (image by Bonnie Findley)

While not exactly a play by any real measure, this show is definitely theatrical and holy blue freaking hannah is it fun. Failure to at least bop your head along with the music at some point might be evidence that rigor mortis has finally set in. These guys are Ottawa cult heroes for good reasons, and all of those reasons are on full display in their hour at the Mercury. And while their forte is obviously music (oh my GOD they’re so very, very good), the staged bits are terrific fun too, including a bizarre job interview at a pharmaceutical firm, and a particularly bipolar eye examination. The whole shebang, directed by Emma Ferrante, runs with the efficiency of a Swiss watch. Maybe the most unabashedly fun show around…it’s a gas, man a real gas. Check it out if you like liking things. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

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