It maybe the dead of winter right now, but the Centaur Theatre is now in the middle of the hottest two weeks of winter with the 22nd edition of the Wildside Festival. From now until January 20, the Centaur will feature a line-up of six critically-acclaimed, yet off beat, innovative theatrical shows that offer different twists to the way one appreciates live theatre.
The festival kicked off with Toronto’s Sex T-Rex hilarious parody “Crime After Crime (After Crime)”, which won the Just For Laughs Best Comedy Award at last year’s Montreal Fringe Festival. A three-part comedy that takes place in 1952, 1972 and 1992, it pokes fun of the hardboiled film noir, heist caper and buddy cop film genres, and are all centred in the mythical city of Crime City. The four-member troupe never misses a beat as they offer energetic sharp parodies of these three crime movie genres that would leave Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and James Bond laughing. It’s certainly better than a shot of whiskey and a slug from a .45. The show continues its run on January 15 and 16.
“Body So Fluorescent” mixes dancing and dialogue as Amanda Cordner portrays two friends – Gary and Desiree – recall a wild night at a dance club, and what transpired between the two that night on the dance floor that led to the two being embroiled in an explosive fight. A raw, honest solo show that’s filled with edgy dance moves, nervy humour and the deep examination of a delicate friendship. It continues its run at the festival on January 12, 16, 18 and 19.
“Hyena Subpoena” is based on Cat Kidd’s trip to South Africa 12 years ago, and takes place while she camps out in Camp Kruger. Her close encounters with the area’s wildlife, such as hyenas, lions, antelopes and elephants, bring up feral forces that offer rather harrowing human life lessons. This theatrical safari runs at the festival on January 13, 15, 17 and 20.
“Macbeth Muet” offers a new twist to Shakespeare’s legendary, bloody tragedy dealing with that famed, deadly Scottish king. This time, no dialogue is spoken, two actors are featured, and the actions of the play are done with paper objects, eggs and lots of blood; it concludes its run on January 13.
“The Gentle Art of Punishment” is about three young women who reveal their respective girlhoods in a narrative that is filled with dreams and nostalgia, dark comedy and how people deal with personal moments of crisis. It continues its run at the Wildside Festival on January 12, 13, 19 and 20.
“Sapienta”, which had a successful run this past summer at the MainLine Theatre, is an innovative retelling of a 10th century tale that deals with martyrdom, which was originally written by history’s first ever female playwright. This time, the story of Sapienta is cleverly told through the use of a number of household items and food. Check it out on January 17, 18 and 19.
Also featured at this year’s Wildside Festival is another edition of the popular storytelling show “Confabulation” on January 12 at 9 p.m., in which a number of Montreal’s best storytellers will spin some oral autobiographical yarns on the theme of “Rites of Passage”.
And the Centaur Gallery will once again be the place to enjoy some of Montreal’s best independent musical bands with the Offside Festival (January 12, 17, 18 and 19), that will take place immediately following the final Wildside shows of the above mentioned evenings, with the January 12 and 19 editions reserved for musical tributes to, respectively, famed women musicians/singers Kate Bush and Patti Smith.
Single tickets for the Wildside Festival are $16, $13 for seniors, subscribers and students, with a four-show Superpass going for $50. For more information, go to www.centaurtheatre.com.