05 July 2013
You probably have to be a fan of a certain brand of British humour to love this one, so it’s lucky that this appealed both to my inner lover of chaos and my inner lover of contrast (who knew I had so many inner lovers?!). I know I have at least one friend who is likely to review this who didn’t like it at all, but I laughed my head off.
Some of the cast members get abused. In particular the Royal Gala apples that were sourced locally for the run of this show (the festival’s Facebook page announced the “casting” of 425 Royal Gala apples of a certain size. Few of those used in the show I watched could have emerged unscathed.
But let’s start at the beginning. A line of relatively well-dressed individuals enters and begins some very stylized juggling — yes, of apples — as they move across the stage to some rather lovely music. Somehow, each of them is able to show some individuality, despite the fact that they are doing the same moves, and in unison. This follows through various permutations and combinations before things start to degenerate.
You could say that the two women in the group are terribly taken advantage of in a most sexist way (in the video below you’ll see a snippet of them crawling in front of the seated men, who are juggling apples on them, done in time to “Stand by Your Man”), but you might also see them playing leading roles and getting their own licks in on the men as they insert various slaps into their own juggling.
More props are introduced: various pieces of china like teacups, saucers, plates and even teapots. This really marks the beginning of the descent into chaos, as even the setting up of the dishes on the floor becomes a competition marked by the frantic outdoing of one another. Then there are some attempts to juggle the dishes that don’t end well, often because of the interventions of others. Apples meet similarly gruesome ends in what can only be described as a terribly funny food fights starring apples and dishes and some very talented jugglers.
There was a bit of a hush when at a certain high point (or low point, depending on your attitude toward this type of humour) where there is pouring of liquid that I guess is supposed to be tea on one of the jugglers. Pandemonium ensues and almost everything that is unscathed gets scathed.
Then they snap out of it (there’s my contrast) and return to the opening tune and juggling procession, altered only by their trying to avoid walking on the broken china or slipping on the smashed apples. And yes, they are juggling apples in this part. I thought it was a brilliant demonstration of things getting completely out of hand and then being reined back in, but the little boy in me was, as I said earlier, laughing his puerile head off.
Here’s a taste of the show:
It’s playing at the lovely Théâtre Outremont on Bernard, which is well air-conditioned (an issue on a day like this) and beautiful. Before you take your children, however, you might want to hear about the two young boys walking ahead of us with their mother as we left. They were each tossing around an apple, bouncing their apples off each other and themselves and then, suddenly, they smashed them on the ground! So if you do take your children to see this, it might be a good idea to keep them away from the china for a while afterwards.