Now also also on at The Fringe is Blackout, a mostly sketch comedy show with maybe 15-20 vignettes and a sprinkling of audience-driven improv thrown in, just to mix things up a bit.
In the intimate 50-seater space in the basement of the El Cortez Tequila Bar + Kitchen, in scarcely more than a hundred square feet of floor space for the seven or eight performers to wedge their mostly shorter and some less than light frames into, was a healthy score of sketch comedy routines, some involving the entire cast singing mostly in-key, some involving boogie nights dancing while seductively licking and then devouring a taco, and some involving grown men dressed as giant bananas while they tremblingly ate smaller bananas in a well-executed if less than rip-roaringly hilarious display of tropically-flavoured humanoid cannibalism. This latter bit didn’t move me, but then again, the rest of the crowd was pissing their pants at the ‘bananabal,’ so maybe I just didn’t understand the trolling. Wouldn’t be the first time.
The show had its moments to be sure. The German director character who brought three audience members on stage to ‘audition’ for (righty) Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s new smear campaign against (lefty) federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair drew a laugh or two out of me, first as he flamboyantly slobbed the organic cucumber without which he refused to be on set, sort of how I imagine Max Mosleyi would get down to party at one of his Nazi sex orgies, and then again as the short-shorts sporting director spit his flat Perrier right in his assistant’s face and told her to fetch a fresh bottle and give herself a good spanking as punishment, which she obediently did, giving herself a proper teary-eyed giddy-up as the exited the stage. Such power !
Where the show really unwound was in the closing act. This was quite unfortunate for me personally as the bitter taste left in my mouth readily tarnished an otherwise enjoyable performance. Everyone in the theatre knows the value and importance of ending on a high note – it’s embedded in the very simple saying “end on a high note” – and yet The Grindstone Theatre’s friendly little show was quite disappointingly and unsatisfyingly the opposite. The shit didn’t even rhyme !
The closing act, a full chorus ensemble song, was a particularly unfathomable and not immodestly religious ode to provincial NDP leader Rachel Notley, she of the ‘not-so-new era in Alberta politics‘ fame. Trumpeted as the woman to “fix the problems of the last 40 years” and “generally make more things free and save the economee,” this etatist suckling on the teat of Obamaesque socialistoid
htropes and delusions served only to show, head-on and eye-to-eye (I was sitting in the front row, after all), what exactly a run-of-the-mill goblin socialist looks like. They look like the following:
- Average or below average physical attractiveness
- Average or below average physical fitness
- Employed as “artists”
That’s pretty much it. To no one’s particular surprise, second-rate politics are for second-rate people. So too, by them and for them is this second-rate show.
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