I’ve always been a big fan of comedy, and I’ve lived in Montreal my entire life, so you’d think Just for Laughs and I would be a perfect fit (it’s only a year younger than me). But I’ve never been to a gala, and before last night had never been to any live production related to the festival.
The main reason behind that is money. Why should I pay $40 for a nosebleed seat for a show I’ll get highlights from a few months later on TV?
The other reason is that I’m not easily impressed by comedy. Jokes about relationships and making fun of people’s acccents got old about three decades ago.
But last night, both those problems were alleviated as I stopped by to see the Uncalled For’s Blastback Babyzap production at Mainline Theatre. I’ve seen the group perform improv shows, so I had an idea that there would be some funny stuff going on. And at only $12, it didn’t hurt the wallet to attend.
I must say, I was very impressed.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the show, some of the stuff below may ruin the surprise. But it’s still worth watching.
From the moment the … do I call it a play? … started and the adorable Matt Goldberg came out in this ridiculous outfit and moustache, the energy was on overdrive. He wasn’t cracking jokes, but the performance was so over-the-top you couldn’t help but laugh. And fortunately that was the idea.
(Notice the blatant product placement?)
The rest of the show involved crazy gags that made absolutely no sense, but were performed so awesomely by the sextet that the plot became entirely irrelevant.
Like this bit, in which two disagreeable socialites try to one-up each other in the number of sugar cubes to be added to their cups of tea. Eventually one goes “all in.”
My poor heart went out to veteran Dan Jeannotte, whose perspiration started out bad and only intensified as the night went on. I figured by the end he would be a puddle of goo, and it turns out that was about what he felt like.
I don’t want to give up the dramatic ending, so I’ll just give it to you in photo form. To see (and hear) how it plays out, you’ll have to see it in person.
(you’ll notice a slight wardrobe malfunction in that photo:
that showed us more about Nic Wright than I’ve ever wanted to know)
Beyond the acting, costume changes and line memorization, the choreography was unexpectedly impressive (the players say they did it in just a handful of sessions over a couple of weeks). So too was the flow, having the end of one scene become the beginning of the next. You could tell these were improv experts, and they managed to adapt their talents well to a staged production.
The singing, on the other hand…
Blastback Babyzap is on tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) at 10pm at Mainline Theatre (3997 St. Laurent, near Duluth). Tickets are $12. Be sure to get there early. The Thursday showing was almost sold out, and the weekend shows are bound to get an even larger audience.