Feb. 27, 2013 - Issue #906: Tegan and Sara - Pop goes their world
The kids aren’t all right
Ride the Cyclone presents teenage choir's final concert - from the afterlife
Adjacent to Wardell, awaiting brunch in the Citadel's internal café/bistro Normand's, Jameson Parker nods his agreement. The two of them comprise part of the cast of Ride the Cyclone, a bizarre, comic, inherently Canadian musical that's been drumming up accolades everywhere it goes, and, it seems, is a script that places particular importance on the audience assembled to see it on a given night.
Created by Victoria's Atomic Vaudeville, Cyclone is a sequel, of sorts, to the company's previous Legoland. That play features a brother and sister recounting their escape from a hippie commune to go see a boy band; this one presents us with a teenage chamber choir from Uranium, Saskatchewan, all dead of a hideous roller coaster accent, giving a final concert from the great beyond (courtesy of the arcane powers of a mechanized fortune-telling machine.)
That immediacy Wardell's discussing seems inherent in the script's structure: that the characters are performing for this particular assembled audience opens the door for a level engagement beyond more fly-on-the-wall pieces of theatre.
"Our closing night in Calgary, it felt like we were playing a rock show," Parker says, in equal parts admiration and still-can't-believe-it earnestness. "It brings out a lot of people who don't go to theatre a lot. We were talking about this last night, how they have less reservations, they don't know the sit-there-and-shut-up sort of thing—which is great. They let loose a little bit more than most audiences, which is nice. We get the response this show sort of thrives on."
Parker's the relative new guy in the cast, having only joined up in the past eight months. Wardell's been present since the first workshop back in 2008, noting that even in its formative, workshop stages, the script had a potency.
"I cried the first time I read the script," Wardell says. "And I'm a crier, but I'm not that much of a crier.
"It sounds macabre and sad; it's not," he adds later. "It's really not a sad show. it's really funny. And I think that's, in some ways, why you end up reflecting more. The emotional resonance happens towards the end of the show, but you've been living in this world, thinking about these fairly dark themes and kind of laughing about them, for a while. And then it lands—which is the best way to approach something like that. Nobody wants to be talked at or preached to about those kinds of themes, right?"
Until Sun, Mar 10 (7:30 pm; Sun matinees 1:30 pm)
Directed by Britt Small and Jacob Richmond
Citadel Theatre, $35 – $78.75
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