It's only it's opening weekend, but I'm going to call it right now: Best. undercurrents. Ever. It's been a long time since I could gush about a whole slew of shows in one sitting. Major kudos and congratulations go out to festival organizer, Patrick Gauthier, for assembling a stellar line-up of shows that practically scream upgradeyoursingletickettoasixshowpassrightnowZOMGWHYAREYOUSTILLSITTINGTHERE!
On Friday night, my adventure began with Little Iliad (which also played at World Stage Toronto). I loved it and later on a friend asked me why they should see it. I spent about five minutes ranting about my joy at seeing the incorporation of theatre and new media/multi-media done well (and seriously, most of the time I just kept wondering how they were doing that), the solid acting, the story, feeling like I wasn't actually watching theatre, but creeping in on someone's conversation, the fact that it's a super short show, so why not take the chance? By the time I was done, I think I had convinced two other people to see it.
Then it was off to Bread. Another super short show, but what it lacked in length it definitely made up for in sweetness. Ruby and Seth are moving out of the neighbourhood, but they've invited us over to teach us to bake bread before they go. I shouldn't have been surprised that this show goes straight to your heart and stomach since it was directed by the queen of whimsy herself, the most divine Emily Pearlman. Only ten people get to make bread with them at the time and the spots fill up super quickly so make sure you reserve in advance.
I ended the night with Little Orange Man, a show I had seen almost three years ago at the Calgary Fringe Festival when it was called Gnomeward Bound. I was super excited to see the updated version since the original was a real sucker-punch to my heart and a reminder of the kind of theatre I like to see and create. It definitely did not disappoint. For those of you who saw the show, all I have to say is: coatrack, amitrite?
So that was day one. Started day two with Ladies of the Lake. Patrick Gauthier stated at the post-show talkbalk that this was probably the prettiest show to ever fill the studio space. He's not wrong. The design team have done an absolutely brilliant and seamless job. This is also probably one of the most polished shows I've ever seen at the undercurrents festival.
Then it was off to SKIN. To be honest, I was worried about this one. With a program description that starts with "What if you don't feel comfortable in your own skin?" I thought it might be a very heavy show, but I was wrong. It was incredibly funny, honest and featured an ensemble of multi-talented women that work so cohesively together... SKIN is a very special show that struck a chord.
Ended this night with The Public Servant, probably my favorite show at a festival already filled with favorites. But I may be a bit biased since I've worked in the public service in the past and so has my mom. The show was so funny and true to life. Opening monologue aside, the main character was me. The first day excitement, the clothes, the projects, the cutbacks, the voice mail... I laughed until I wanted to cry. The cast is so good! It's some of the best work I've seen Sarah McVie do. And my arts crush on Jennifer Brewin, which started at the Next Stage Theatre Festival (The Peace Maker was my favorite show at that festival too) just keeps getting stronger. I'm going to have to see more from Theatre Columbus.
Oh, I guess that wasn't the end of my night, since the festival had a great little party for everyone set up in the lobby. There was food, dancing and the return of Two Little Birds Theatre with Recess.
Last but not least, ended the entire festival on a high note with Hip-Hop Shakespeare:Live Music Videos! I missed it at the Ottawa Fringe last year and man, oh man, was I glad to correct that mistake. It's absolutely phenomenal. Personal favorites included Melanie's Lady M and David's Rich 3. Go see it! Go see it! Go see it!
Seriously though, why are you still here? Get your butt down to the Great Canadian Theatre Company RIGHT NOW (unless you're reading this on Monday, then wait a day) before all the good theatre is gone.