Archive | July, 2018

2018 Toronto Fringe Picks: Part 3

13 Jul

With the final weekend of the Toronto Fringe Festival upon us, here are a few more brief recommendations!

Dead for a Ducat: A deliciously clever and earnest film noir adaptation of Hamlet, with all the parts smartly performed by only two talented and hard working actors. It can be risky to mess with the classics, but Dead for a Ducat pulls it off with aplomb.

Harvey and the Extraordinary: This touching site-specific piece situated in a back-alley garage uses the premise of an eight year-old aspiring mime performing a show for her neighbours as the vehicle for a far more profound and moving story that is told almost exclusively in between the lines. Performer/creator Eliza Martin uses the intimacy of the space to great effect; her subtle twitches and the brief flashes of sadness in her eyes communicate so very much that would be lost in a larger venue.

Hooked: Looking for a bit of variety in your Fringe diet? Consider checking out one of the many worthy dance shows in this year’s festival. One excellent candidate is Kristen Pepper’s Hooked; it offers an emotionally effective premise, a clear narrative arc, and elegant choreography.

Life in a Box: Who would have expected a stoner buddy comedy to be so sharp, vibrant, and imaginatively staged? Not only does this dank time travel adventure feature palpably noteworthy chemistry between writer/performers Landon Doak and Matthew Finlan, but also some damn catchy musical interludes that invite comparisons to the work of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Police Cops in Space: Very much in the same vein as Sex-T-Rex, The Pretend Men are able to weave a tale of justice, revenge, and friendship – in space no less – that is in equal measure hilarious and cinematic using only goofy costumes, cheap props, and a whole lot of theatrical magic.

2018 Toronto Fringe Picks: Part 2

10 Jul

More excellent shows from this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival!



When Liz (Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster), a tourism conference attendee returns home to her Air B&B late one night, she finds Joy (Cass Van Wyck), her host is still up and in the mood to talk. What starts as a friendly conversation takes on more ominous tones and pits the two women against each other in a situation with far more than just a good Air B&B review at stake.

This taught two-hander drama from playwright Michael Ross Albert is not only a shining example of the art of dramatic escalation, but is elevated by the fact that it relies and comments on larger ideas about class and the realities of our socio-economic system to work. His dialogue walks the fine line between precision and naturalism, making for a seamless but punchy back and forth.

Lancaster and Van Wyck are both superb in their respective roles as the slightly uptight Liz, and the deceptively unsophisticated Joy. Casting is not often critically recognized as a part of the creative process, but in this case it is worth highlighting given just how well the two performers play off of and contrast each other while still finding ample common ground.

Director David Lafontaine guides the piece with a deft hand; the pacing, blocking, and emotional progression are all calculated but organic, never drawing the audience out of what is an engaging experience.


The Preposterous Predicament of Polly Peel (Act 1)

Disregard the whimsically alliterative title if you think you’re in for a Fringe Kids show; Kevin Wong (music and lyrics), Julie Tepperman (book), and Aaron Willis’ (director) highly polished musical does indeed have Polly Peel (rising star Hannah Levinson), a confident and precocious child-scientist as its protagonist, but the the themes of loss and grief the production dissects are done so with nuance and sensitivity.

While audience members should be aware that due to the time constraints of the Fringe Festival, only act one of the full-length musical is being presented, it is still a thoroughly fulfilling experience and only leaves one that much hungry for more (fingers crossed there are some savvy producers and ADs in the audience).

Wong’s music and lyrics are plucky, sophisticated and gentle, and truly serve to support, communicate, and enhance Tepperman’s narrative – which cannot be said about lesser musical works. Willis’ direction is imaginative and imbues the production with just the right amount of Broadway bravado to be fun, without overshadowing the touching human story at the core of the production.

The cast are all a treat to watch; Levinson is charming in the titular role, and Jessica Sherman and Troy Adams both endear as Polly’s parents.


Shadow Kingdom

This imaginative shadow puppet show from the Mochinosha Puppet Company (Daniel Wishes and Seri Yanai) is a treat for children and adults alike. Wishes and Yanai have elevated shadow puppetry to a truly cinematic art form that offers no end of charming and innovative surprises.

In Shadow Kingdom they weave the tale of Minerva, a young girl who doesn’t want to go to sleep but rather stay up and play on her phone all night. When she and her phone are magically transported to the Shadow Kingdom – the realm of sleep – she finds herself caught up in an adventure that invites comparisons to the empowered-child stories at the heart of Hayao Miyazaki’s and Roald Dahl’s work.

Goofy humour, motley and memorable characters, and impressive technical artistry are just three of the reasons not to miss this show. Equally worthy of note are the touching original songs written for the show by composer Elliott Loran.

Also worth mentioning is that the company has a second show in the Fringe; Space Hippo. This reviewer saw it performed in late 2017 and it is just as delightful and fun as Shadow Kingdom. #LizarrrdMaaaaaaan


The Merkin Sisters

Creators/performers Ingrid Hansen and Stephanie Morin-Robert are a couple of weirdos, wonderful fearless weirdos. Thank god we have festivals like the Fringe to give them the platform they deserve – because you sure as hell aren’t going to see this delightfully wacky shit as part of any Mirvish season.

The Merkin Sisters is structured as a series of loosely interconnected abstract vignettes featuring the titular characters; a pair of rivalrous oddball siblings clad in 80s print bathing suits and, for lack of a better term, hair muumuus. Sweater vaginas, a cannibalistic wig, and miniature doppelganger puppets are just some of the physical comedy setpieces making up the show.

It’s not strangeness for strangeness’ sake though; motherhood, the nature of art, and body image – among other ideas – are all fodder for their completely unpredictable theatrical whims. In the hands of lesser talent, the concepts could fall flat as awkward head scratchers, but Hansen and Morin-Robert have impeccable comedic instincts and timing.

Beautifully bawdy, gleefully grotesque, and scintillatingly surreal, The Merkin Sisters is a welcome departure from reality.


Morro and Jasp: Save the Date

If there is such a thing as Fringe royalty, Morro and Jasp (Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee) are it. This marks their (along with director/dramaturg Byron Laviolette) tenth Toronto Fringe, and they haven’t laid an egg yet.

In this iteration, the beloved clown sisters are preparing themselves for Jasp’s fast-approaching nuptials – and by extension the first time the two siblings will be living apart. It’s new emotional territory that they are forced to confront in the midst of all the other brouhaha that comes with planning a wedding. It is that brouhaha in which they mine the brilliant comedy they are known for; in this case dress fittings, cake tastings, and a superb visual gag involving a longer-than-average veil all illicit howls of delight from the audience.

Annis and Lee have always elevated their productions above mere entertainment (as entertaining as they are) by placing their loving and well-defined relationship at the centre of their stories, and this one might just be the most touching yet.


Entrances and Exits

The Howland Company (52 Pickup, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, Punk Rock) in partnership with Bad Dog Theatre is trying something a little different this time around – improv comedy. With an innovative premise, a talented cast, and some stellar guest performers (including the much beloved Colin Mochrie) the results are no less impressive than their previous offerings.

Entrances and Exits parodies the classic British living room farces of the 60s with a clever two-act structure that sees the same story played out twice, but each time showing what is happening in different adjacent rooms. It would be ambitious enough for a scripted show, but is even more so when the pieces are fit together on the fly.


We’ll Be Better Tomorrow

This bold, honest (and dare I say it, brave) two-hander sketch revue from performers Stacey McGunnigle and Jason DeRosse, and director Rob Baker is just as hilarious, contemporary, painfully truthful, and surprisingly heartfelt as their 2016 hit Tonight’s Cancelled.

Although on paper the two Second City veterans tackle material that has been the subject of countless sketches before (relationships, parenthood, sex, etc), they do so in a way that is both insightful and captures the zeitgeist, making the hour-long show feel fresh and topical. Their writing is strong and their characters are admirably well-defined and three-dimensional; not always the case in lesser sketch revues.

2018 Toronto Fringe Picks: Part 1

7 Jul

Here are some of the shows from the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival we’ve loved so far!


You’re going to have to forgive the vagaries of this write up; I would rather be obtuse about Fringe staple Martin Dockery’s deceptively simple and intensely clever two-hander than to give too much away.

What we can say is that what is ostensibly a conversation between two old friends who have stepped away from the hubbub of a holiday party and discover a cryptic object in a closet, is the framework for a high-concept bit of theatrical fun that is testament to Dockery’s talent as both a writer and performer. Those who enjoyed last year’s Moonlight after Midnight will appreciate the same one-two punch of human story and meta-structure that also defines Inescapable.

Dockery’s stagemate Jon Paterson is equally impressive to watch; the work’s concept and brisk pacing demand effortless performances to pull off, which Dockery and Paterson both deliver.

Because of the relatively simple staging, it would be easy to overlook Director Vanessa Quesnelle’s contribution, but she especially deserves credit for giving the performance a well defined arc – which is more of a challenge than one might assume.

Inescapable is a fast-paced slow burn, and an early highlight of this year’s festival.

Also worth noting: Martin Dockery has a second surprise show in this year’s fringe, The Bike Trip, which is also excellent. A one man storytelling show about Dockery’s trip to Basel, Switzerland to recreate the first literal LSD trip, laced (pun very much intended) with his philosophical reflections on love and life.


D&D Live!

Fringe regulars will know Sex-T-Rex for their hilarious and cinematic takes on various tropes and genres (Swordplay: A Play of Swords, Wasteland, among others), and while that also serves to describe D&D Live! (Dungeons and Dragons for the uninitiated), the difference this year is that there’s no script – it’s completely improvised with the assistance of the audience. Using a satirical version of Toronto by way of JRR Tolkien as the backdrop for the story, the players weave a tale that is both true to the Dungeons and Dragons experience and comedically accessible to the local audience.

The results, while not surprisingly less polished than their scripted shows (it wouldn’t be improv otherwise), are no less hilarious and imaginative. Sean Murray acts as the Dungeon Master, giving structure and guidance to the motley core group of mythical heroes (Chris Wilson, Kyah Green, Sean Tabares, and Conor Bradbury) who, like in a true game of Dungeons and Dragons, must on occasion roll a soccer ball-sized 20-sided die to determine the outcome of their quest.

Each performance features a special guest performer; at the performance this reviewer attended, it was the always top-notch Mark Little who played a mystical curator with a propensity for mischievously challenging the conventions of the format to great comedic effect.

Sex-T-Rex have earned their reputation as Fringe greats, and D&D Live! Is only further proof.



Tom McGee should be familiar to Fringe audiences as a key member of Theatre Brouhaha and the dramaturg of many if not all of Kat Sandler’s numerous fringe hits, as well as the creative force behind Shakey-Shake, the equally successful series of child-friendly Shakespearean adaptations performed by puppets. Featherweight, which McGee wrote and directed, is a departure from both those previous projects – although it is no less smart and entertaining.

Set in the Paddock Tavern (host to previous Fringe hits, We Are the Bomb and Bendy Sign Tavern), Featherweight gives the audience a glimpse into the afterlife – well, the administrative part right before the afterlife that is. Jeff (Michael Musi) a beige 30-something, finds himself in the hall of judgement, which looks suspiciously like his favourite bar, where he encounters Egyptian god Anubis (Amanda Cordner) and his/her assistant, Toth (Kat Letwin) who are tasked with processing his soul by weighing the deeds of his life against a feather. It being a well-stocked bar though, the liquor doth flow and the procedure takes a few left turns.

McGee’s writing is often delightfully nerdy, but never sacrifices the truth of the characters or story for the sake of a reference or joke. The dialogue is quick, the arguments nuanced, and the cast all do a fantastic job of bringing it all to life – although Kat Letwin does often steal the show as the oft-hapless servant.

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: One Left Hour – The Life and Work of Daniil Kharms

5 Jul

Your name: Alexander Offord

Your production: One Left Hour: The Life and Work of Daniil Kharms

Your role: Performer/Dramaturg

Tell me about your show.

“One Left Hour” is a multimedia theatrical pageant that uses music, puppetry, choreography, free association, improvisation, clown, and performance art to stage and interrogate the life and work of the Stalinist-era surrealist writer, Daniil Kharms. The show charts the trajectory of his life from birth, to the founder of an avant-garde performance collective, to this eventual death by starvation in a a Soviet insane asylum. Along the way, we ask some probing questions about how we make meaning of art – and how we make meaning of life.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

“America is Great Again”

Lin-Manuel has been tasked by the revolutionary government to compose music to celebrate the execution via guillotine of Donald Trump, but his muse has left him! When a slick-talking former Canadian Prime Minister with perfectly coiffed hair shows up at his door and presents Lin-Manuel with an offer he can’t refuse, the composer isn’t sure if it’s a Trudeau he’s dealing with or the devil himself! Throw in a trans antifa love interest who may or may not be the revolution’s secret leader, and what you’ve got is a fun-filled romp through the end of late-stage capitalism!

It’s not “ha ha” funny.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

So many to name, and we will almost certainly leave some amazing ones out, but off the top of our heads in no particular order:

“The Makeover Show,” by Avalonstorm
“Flooded” by North America
“Final Exam” by Holy Cow Entertainment
“Featherweight” by Theatre Brouhaha
“First Dates” by Clutch Performance Theatre Co.
“Rage Against the Inferno” by Theatre ARTaud and Filament Incubator
“Carmilla” by Pointed Cap Playhose

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: THE PREPOSTEROUS PREDICAMENT OF POLLY PEEL (ACT 1)

3 Jul

Your name: Kevin Wong, Julie Tepperman, Aaron Willis


Your role: Composer/ Lyricist (Kevin), Playwright / Bookwriter (Julie), Director / Dramaturg (Aaron)

Tell me about your show.

‘… Polly Peel (Act 1)’ explores a family grappling with death through the eyes and imagination of a biology-obsessed eleven-year-old girl. Originally inspired by acclaimed Canadian painter Paul Peel’s ‘The Young Biologist’, an early incarnation was presented in 2016 at the AGO as part of The Musical Stage Company’s ‘Reframed’.

Featuring a moving story, a funny and poignant musical score, and some of Canada’s top musical theatre talent, ‘… Polly Peel (Act 1)’ showcases a rare in-development look at a new Canadian musical. Frogs. Family. Forgiveness. RIBBIT! Winner of the 2018 Paul O’Sullivan Prize for Musical Theatre.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

Kevin: “Covfefe’s Darkest Timeline: The Musical?” – A site specific piece set in an ever darkening room in which voices all around you sing you into numbness.

Julie:  “Since When Is It Okay To Separate Parents And Children?: the musical” – A site-specific piece set in an ever darkening room in which voices all around you SCREAM you into numbness.

Aaron: COLLUSION: THE MUSICAL – A crew of plucky, tap dancing FBI agents reveal all the secrets we’ve ever wanted to know through the sheer power of their song.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Kevin: THE LAST PARTY – A fantastic creative team and cast all around. Cannot wait! ONE SMALL STEP – Anika Johnson and Barb Johnston write amazing earworms, and the cast features the incredible Kelsey Verzotti and Georgia Bennett!

Julie: Morro and Jasp!!!

Aaron:  HOW TO BE FEARLESS WITH ROXY ROBERTS. Written by and starring the amazing Ali Joy Richardson!

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Lighters in the Air

3 Jul

Your name: Victoria Laberge

Your production: Lighters in the Air

Your role: Publicist

Tell me about your show.

Lighters In The Air is a new indie rock musical running at the Monarch Tavern, featuring special guest performers every night. A musician named Leo returns to his former hangout, The Empty, a dive bar where the mic is always open. With the help of old friends, a lost love, and The Empty’s newest off-beat barflies, Leo rediscovers his passion for the music he left behind.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

What Now? 2018 has thrown us some curveballs. How can we use art to change the world and create a better future?

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Sex T-Rex are always hilarious (in my completely biased opinion, since I do their publicity too) – don’t miss their improvised D&D Live! We’re also really looking forward to The Climb by Duane Forrest, who joins us at the Monarch for our guest spot on July 14th; and The Princess of the Tower at Fringe Kidsfest, stage managed by Lighters SM extraordinaire Laura Moniz!

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: The Ties That Bind And Gag

3 Jul

Your name: Juliet Paperny

Your production: The Ties That Bind and Gag

Your role: Director/Producer

Tell me about your show.

Three generations of a tight-knit family cram into a rental car to drive to a funeral. Neuroses collide, emotions run high, grievances are aired and over-shared, traffic laws are broken.

Buckle up and spend some claustrophobic quality time on a guilt-trip road trip with your nearest and dearest – the people you love and can’t stand or just can’t understand. The ensuing drama’s funny because it’s true and hilarious because it’s heartbreaking.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

This year has been bleak to say the least. Our creative vision at Poor Life Choices Productions is to intercut the tough times in life with complete absurdity. It is for this reason that I would propose Sweeney RBG: The Saviour Barber of DC. It features the one and only Ruth Bader Ginsberg, taking down all the miscreants that have wronged her and the rest of the world. Would obviously star Helena Bonham Carter. I can’t say Trump, Pence or Coulter would be that tasty in a pie but Donald Jr. on the other hand….

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Entrances and Exits – can’t miss a Bad Dog Comedy Theatre performance. Also performing at Factory Theatre so do a back-to-back performance with ours and this one.  The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome – Site specific performance about artists in a small gallery on Queen St. West. Great cast and a fellow dark comedy. Sex T-Rex’s D&D Live: It’s improv and an opportunity to completely nerd out, and Sex T-Rex never disappoints. Need I say more?

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Anywhere

3 Jul

Your name: Michael Ross Albert

Your production: Anywhere and The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome

Your role: Playwright (and co-producer of Anywhere)

Tell me about your show.

Anywhere is a new drama that begins when a young businesswoman returns to her AirBnB to find that her host, a vodka-toting single mom, is waiting up for her. What starts as a cordial relationship between two strangers steadily escalates into a tense, life-altering confrontation.

The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome is a play that premiered in the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival, and is included in “Best American Short Plays 2014-2015.” It’s a comedy about a group of struggling visual artists at a struggling art gallery, wrestling with creative frustrations, identity crises, sexual entanglements, and general urban millennial ennui.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

The musical is called Jared and Ivanka Sit Shiva. It’s an absurdist comedy about a very wealthy couple observing traditional Jewish mourning customs for a deceased megalomaniac family patriarch. As the couple sits shiva with their extended family at a golf course in Florida, they are forced to face their own complicity in the dead man’s wrongdoings– actions that have led to large scale unhappiness and unrest. Over the course of the week, secrets are revealed, songs are sung, marriages disintegrate, families are reunited, and we, the audience, will collectively mourn the loss of society’s sanity, while looking forward hopefully to a time of healing.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

I have a very long list of shows that I want to see, and really hope I can make it out to all of them. They are: Prank by Daniel Pagett; Cheri, which stars the formidable Theresa Tova; Enjoy the Hostilities created by Robin Black and Graham Isador; The Howland Company and Bad Dog Theatre’s Entrances and Exits; Ciaran Meyers’ Hamburger; Wes Berger’s First Dates; Rachel Ganz’s The Queen’s Eulogy; Crave by Sarah Kane, featuring the great Wayne Burns; Police Cops in Space; Space Hippo; Briana Brown’s Robert; Natalie Frijia’s Bikeface; and Theatre Brouhaha’s Featherweight by Tom McGee

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: PRTNR

3 Jul

Credit: Dahlia Katz

Your name: Natalie Kulesza

Your production: PRTNR

Your role: Co-Creator & Performer (along side David Rowan!)

Tell me about your show.

Basically it is a sketch com show about Partnership in all it’s different forms… So, you know, it’s gonna be GOOD (because who doesn’t love putting things under a microscope and seeing what wild ideas you can come with)

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

Keep Your Hands to Yourself and while you’re at it Clean Up my Water. A romp through Patriarchy and the right to clean drinking water…. all in one show (Dance numbers & free protest signs included!)

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Great question! I’m just getting started on my planning!… Text me in 48 hrs and I will let you know… (GAWD. So many talented & creative peeps in the GD city…!!!) (Though, first that cross my mind are Robert & We the Men)

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Prank

2 Jul

Credit: Matthew Sarookanian

Your name: Christel Bartelse

Your production: Prank

Your role: Performer and Producer

Tell me about your show.

Prank is the new dark comedy from playwright and director Danny Pagett (Cloud, Homewrecker). Two daughters of internet celebrities struggle with the legacy left from them, running both towards- and away from from their own turn in the spotlight. It is loosely based on the true story of DaddyOfFive- a real life youtuber who had their children taken away last year when people who had seen their videos accused them of child abuse. Prank explores the dangers of desperately seeking fame at any cost, and how over the top online behavior can be downfall. Starring Christel Bartelse and Cydney Penner, and produced by Thundermind Theatre and DutchGirl Productions (ONEymoon, Chaotica, All KIDding Aside)

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

DON’T Come From Away – the remarkable true story about the Trump administration

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

So much to see. I’m a huge Michael Ross Albert fan, so looking forward to “The Grass is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome” and “Anywhere” Also have yet to see The Merkin Sisters which I hear is fabulous and big Rob Gee fan who is a brilliant Brit. We’re also part of #fringefriends so seeing all those shows on that list “Robert”, “Josephine” “One Small Step” “Upstream Downtown” “PRTNR” and “How to be Fearless!”

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: The Grass Is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome

2 Jul

Your name: Lauren MacKinlay

Your production: The Grass Is Greenest at the Houston Astrodome

Your role: Performer/Producer

Tell me about your show.

When a painter tears the artwork off the walls of a struggling independent gallery, the relationships between a group of emerging artists are also torn apart. In the chaotic aftermath that ensues, the underachieving artists grapple with their insecurities, infidelities, and their innate jealousy of one another.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

We’re living in depressing times, so I’d be inclined to put forward a much needed respite from the madness and melodic ray of sunshine in the form of “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion: The Musical.” Ideally, all the music in the show would be Cyndi Lauper tunes. I should actually find some way of copyrighting this idea…

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Lark and Whimsy’s “Robert” – they’re an incredible team and I’ll never pass up a bagpipe. Also, our playwright Michael Ross Albert has another show in the Fringe: “Anywhere.” As a huge fan of his writing, that one’s unmissable for me.

2018 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: BikeFace

2 Jul

Credit: Hayley Andoff

Your name: Clare Blackwood

Your production: BikeFace

Your role: Performer

Tell me about your show.

During the Victorian era bicycle craze, doctors warned women riders they would undoubtedly cultivate “bicycle faces”: becoming over-exerted, wild-eyed, un-sexed vulgarities, when faced with nothing before them but the wide, open road. A hundred years later, the story of BikeFace takes off. It’s a one-woman whirlwind retracing a real-life bicycle adventure across Canada, challenging the outdated gender stereotype. Filled with strange-but-true tales of Wild West proprietors, haunted graveyards, and secrets only fit for strangers, BikeFace will tickle your funnybone but, above all else, will ignite your thirst for adventure! (5 STARS -Vue Weekly; 4 STARS -Global News).

On a personal note: I ride a bike in a hoodie for a large portion of the show, so if you’ve ever wanted to see how sweaty a human being can possibly get while onstage, YOU’RE IN LUCK, FRIEND.

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

Yup, We’re Doomed: An Immersive Journey

Picture this, if you will: the curtain rises to the sound of wailing. Just, like, from everyone. The actors, the techs, the director, the stage manager, and, because they have been politely prompted to by the program’s Director’s Note, the audience. Everyone is sobbing and screaming and beating their chests and throwing things and it is VERY DRAMATIC. Somewhere in the distance, and we’re not entirely sure where they’ll come from yet, there are sirens. This will form the majority of the musical’s soundtrack. Where’s the subtlety, we can already hear you asking? ASK 2018, WHY DON’T YOU.

A white man dressed as an actual cheeto steps onto the stage and begins a carefully-curated PowerPoint presentation on how White Privilege is a Fake News Liberal Myth, and then will try to steal audience member’s children away from them until he is chased off the stage and symbolically murdered by a group of multicultural interpretive dancers. There is an excessive use of red streamers in this last part, probably, if it’s in the budget. Audiences love streamers.

The rest of the show is a non-stop barrage of the actors screaming real headlines from news outlets that have aired this year (this can be updated daily, to keep the musical topical), and occasionally we’ll throw in a song or two set to the most depressing instrumental accompaniment our composer has managed to throw together after his nightly whiskey binges. The band will consist of an oboe and fifteen cellos.

Basically it’s probably going to be the Come From Away of 2018.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

SO MANY. Filament’s Rage Against Trilogy, TallBoyz II Men’s A 6IX NNNNNN Review, Ashley With a “Y”, Featherweight, Generally Hospital, Moonstruck, Prank- and, in a completely predictable turn of events if you’ve literally ever spoken to me before in your entire life, Sex T-Rex’s D&D Live! It combines my favourite things ever: Sex T-Rex, Dungeons & Dragons, and improv. WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT WITH YOUR LIFE.