Members of the Prince Rupert theatre community took centre stage last week for Udderfest. Below is a review of the shows.
An Afternoon of Twisted Fairy Tales
The name of the game was weird and wacky for the 18 kids taking part in Harbour Theatre’s kids’ camp this summer and it definitely translated on-stage on Saturday for An Afternoon of Twisted Fairy Tales.
Four scripted shorts kicked things off before the intermission. The first of which, Rafunzel, took a classic tale and turned it on its golden head with a prince, who, in order to rescue and propose to his true love, must endure spilled tea, dog slobber, and bee stings.
Spiderella was next, taking Cinderella and bugging it out with lady bugs and arachnids.
Goldilocks and the Three Bull Frogs was featured next, with swapped lily pads for beds.
The Cheetah and the Sloth twisted the Tortoise and the Hair into a wild ride with an overconfident cheetah, bearing a driver’s license beating the sloth. But since cars aren’t allowed, the slower sloth took home the prize and the crowd’s affection.
The Wiz of Rainbow City wrapped things up with an improv telling of Dorothy and Toto who must overcome the wicked witch of Cow Bay and her minions to get back home.
Digby Towers II: Off the Rails
The cast of last year’s Digby Towers returned to the stage to continue the story of the buildings’ quirky tenants in Digby Towers II: Off the Rails.
In the excitement of finding out he’s been nominated for “Best Elevator Man – Pacific Northwest Region, Open Cage”, Randy (David Smook) vacates his post to share the news, leaving Dr. Herman (Michael Gurney) to make his way to the basement himself. Unfortunately Dr. Herman flicks the lever too much and crashes into the basement.
With no word or sight from his roommate, Doug (Jeff Bill) fears Dr. Herman has gone missing and begins a frantic search. Dr. Herman’s disappearance also worries Randy’s wife Priscilla (Leah Jowe), who needs the missing man as part of the board of her daycare in light of a pending visit from a daycare inspector.
When a very intricate missing person’s portrait fails to produce results, the two turn to the Hermanvision – a device invented to locate Dr. Herman should he go missing. While the only key is going through all four options on the control, each of which gets a different response from Herman’s hologram, the two only get through the first three before the inspector (Smook in a dual role) arrives.
With no Dr. Herman in sight, Doug and Priscilla use the Hermanvision hologram to trick the inspector, but when Dr. Herman returns from the basement, having grown a beard, with the hologram escaping, the result is a hilarious ending to another excellent episode of Digby Towers.
Tut Tut in concert
Musical duo Tut Tut, consisting of Chrys Thompson and Caitlund Catherall, took the stage during this year’s Udderfest in two intimate musical performances. The pair are both no strangers when it comes to being onstage, and their experience was reflected in their performance.
Tut Tut sang covers of “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, “Hallelujah” originally by Leonard Cohen, “Crazy” by Gnarles Barkley, “I Will Follow You into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie and many more.
The duo also performed a mash-up of popular songs entitled “Last Melody” created by Thompson that shows a similarity in chord-use. The mash-up included sections of Pearl Jam’s version of “Last Kiss”, “Baby” by Justin Beiber, “Friday” by Rebecca Black, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “Every Breath you Take” by the Police and “Those Magic Changes” from Grease.
Dan the Man
You just never know what is going to happen when you show up for work, and nowhere was that demonstrated more clearly than in Rudy Kelly’s Dan the Man.
What started as a typical night of fun on the airwaves of Salmon FM for DJ Dan (Rich Jerstad) and technical assistant Steve (Greg Loroff) takes a turn for the worse when Mona (Paula Loroff) calls in to say her boyfriend punched her in the face. After hanging up and refusing to call the police, Mona’s boyfriend Richard (Jasper Nolos) calls in to explain he hit her only after finding her in bed with his best friend, being shot at and taking a cleaver to the stomach.
That revelation makes Dan think about what he would do in the same situation, which raises the ire of Mona, who shows up in the studio, gun in hand, and demands to be put on the air.
Things get even stranger when Richard shows up, fresh from receiving stitches in the emergency room, and not only apologizes for hitting Mona but takes her back.
Between a domestic disturbance, an attempted murder and a hostage situation that ends with the happy couple leaving the studio while the DJ faces off with the police and tries to wrap his head around it all, Dan the Man fit the bill of a dark comedy that proves not everything is as it appears.
The world premiere of Henderson’s Assessment, written by Chris Armstrong and directed by Lyle McNish, got the audience into it early with a hilarious encounter between Henderson (Kris Scott) and his doctor (Dan Bubas).
With some unorthodox diagnosing methods, the doctor discovers that Henderson, a quality control specialist, will die within a week. Sure enough, Henderson does just that, right in the middle of a meeting with his colleagues at work (Angelica Jesser, Heather MacRae and Sean Carberry). Up in heaven, Henderson meets Gary Larson (Carberry) and St. Peter (Jasper Nolos) who tell him it takes more than just a laudable life lived that can gain you entry into the “most exclusive club anywhere” – Henderson must tell a joke that encapsulates his whole existence, and be funny to boot.
The comedic process in which Henderson delves deep inside himself to find this one-liner had audiences in stitches.
Toast and Jam
Sometimes people want to be more than just friends, and sometimes it takes some outside influence to make it happen. That was the story of Rob Shearer’s Toast and Jam.
Betty (Kennedy Thorson) plans out a special breakfast for roommate Bill (Tony Duong), including fresh made coffee and a fancy table cloth. The meal, duirng which Betty planned to tell Bill she likes him, is interrupted by roommate Jolie (Taryn Wesley) who arrives hungover.
While Jolie tries to talk Betty out of it, before spilling the beans herself, the heart wants what it wants. What follows is an entertaining show that includes not bickering and fighting, but a crafty and mischevious plan by the women to bring Betty and Bill together.
The Unsinkable Play
Rob Shearer and Katt Campbell returned to this year’s Udderfest with The Unsinkable Play along side Russell Bowers.
Set in the fictional future where Canada’s economy is driven by American tourist dollars, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasters of Calumny) produces the heritage moments to bring those tourists in.
Part of The Unsinkable Play followed a time travelling division on their mission to ensure that Charles Melville Hays was indeed aboard the Titanic the night it sank. Shearer and Campbell hopping on the time travelling gondola on Mount Hays to appear onboard the ill-fated Titanic, with all three improv actors playing various roles throughout the hilarious performance.
With Bowers’ guidance (and some help from audience members), Campbell and Shearer were successful in their efforts to prove Charles Hays lost his life on the ship, although perhaps not in the way suspected.
The remainder of the performance depending on audience suggestions to show important moments in Canada’s history, as well as interviews with the creators of some classic Canadian inventions.
Russell Bowers moderated the game where telling lies pays off.
The team of Treena Decker and Nivan Schumer competed with Rob Shearer and Kat Campbell to try and win points off each other’s stories. If the team is lying and the opposing squad can catch them in the lie while asking questions about their story, they gain a point. If they guess wrong, the story-telling team gets the point.
Completely false lectures with five tidbits of true information were also read aloud and if the opposing team could pick out the truisms, they can notch another point. The topics discussed were redheads and witches, driving lessons in hearses and acting under Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola.
Green Room Special
Easily the improv highlight of Udderfest, the Late Night “Green Room” Special pitted Russell Bowers, Rob Shearer, Jeff Bull and Katt Campbell against and with each other in the dramatic and shameless performance where audience interaction was not only encouraged, but necessary.
Through a “Whose Line is it Anyway” procedure, the foursome enacted scenes involving brothers at a mother’s funeral, with one of the bros rolling around in roadkill being the central cause of contention amongst the siblings, a carnival with balloon animal necklaces entrapping two lovers, a trombone party with very aroused, enraged, and overjoyed guests and a performance of Cinderella in less than a minute, with Shearer providing a very apt anthropomorphic mouse.