Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
Ride the Cyclone
The rollercoaster, we're told, derailed at the peak of its loop, sending the six members of Uranium, Saskatchewan's teenage choir plummeting to their graves.
But now they're back before us, in a temporary purgatory brought on by the carnival's fortune-telling machine, Karnack (who's talking to us, and them, now). One of them can return to life, but just one, he tells them. Turn by turn, they make their cases.
Ride the Cyclone's premise is macabre, sure, but that belies one of the more hilarious pieces of modern musical theatre you're likely to see. Victoria's Atomic Vaudeville is restless in its approach and inventive in its execution, creating a lively upstart spectacle that defies genre conventions and fully deserves the waves of praise it's been seeing coast to coast.
The songs are varied, but nuanced in their own styles. Eastern European bad boy Mischa (Jameson Parker) delivers a glorious, autotuned rap song—a theatre production actually makes good on a rap number!–before moving on to a traditional Ukrainian ballad. Elsewhere we have razzle-dazzley-show stoppes from the preppy, activist-y Ocean Rosenberg (Rielle Braid), the brilliantly '70s sci-fi pulp of Ricky's (Elliott Loran) internal musings complete with a glammy, Bowie-ish space suit (costume design by Ingrid Hansen) and fawning space cats. The bobbling but ominous Jane Doe (Sarah Jane Pelzer)—found without a head and who nobody can remember— delivers a song of mounting worry about her lack of identity. Those were the standouts for me, but there really isn't a weakness in the cast here, nor the songs or structure. Everything is cleverly staged. The carnival set (designed by Hank Pine) proving perfectly adaptable to every weird whim the show has; the live band onstage, adorned with rat heads, is a boon.
What playwright Jacob Richmond and director Britt Small have created with Ride the Cyclone is a requiem for small-town dreams: it's about the kids who long to escape for bigger and better things, of youthful idealism and cynicism and the hope that I'll all get better one day when you're just free of here. That this bunch are dealing with the fact that they didn't quite get there gives it some heart, but the humour and delivery makes it all triumphantly weird.
Until Sun, Mar 10
(7:30 pm; Sun matinees 1:30 pm)
Directed by Britt Small
and Jacob Richmond
Citadel Theatre, $35 – $78.75 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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