Wildside Festival – DAY 1 Double Review: ‘Self-Exile’ and ‘Outta Here’

The 20th Annual Wildside Festival, running from January 5 – 15, 2017 at the Centaur Theatre, is “the hottest two weeks in winter” in Montreal with its eclectic lineup of cutting edge indie theatre. With seven stimulating shows to choose from, we’re attending all of this year’s festival’s opening performances to provide you with a roundup of reviews to help you decide which acts to see. Stay tuned to this page for updates – new reviews published daily!

Buy tickets online at www.centaurtheatre.com
or call the Centaur Box Office at 514-288-3161


(Shows opening on Thursday, January 5th, 2017)

(Photo courtesy of the Wildside Festival)


The one-woman show that premiered at the 2015 Montreal Solos Festival and last summer won the Centaur’s Best of the Montreal Fringe Award has been remounted at this edition of the Wildside Fest, much to our relish. Written and performed by Nisha Coleman and directed by Jeff Gandell, the play asks the weighty question “is it better to be loved for who you are not than rejected for who you are?”

In an entirely engaging and engulfing performance from Coleman, she takes us through her personal journey of self-discovery, highlighting key moments of her unusual upbringing as the daughter of hippie parents. A feat in storytelling, the bare-to-the-bones autobiographical show delves into the depths of the psyche, exploring themes of social conformity, identity, mental health, and family relationships. Grounded, present, sharp, and authentic in her delivery, Coleman is one of those actors who can do things with her eyes, wholly transporting her audience into the world of her compelling narrative. The script speaks mightily to those who have too once sought social withdrawal, seclusion, and detachment as inviting alternatives to having to contend to the complexities of living in a norm-laden society.

Beautifully intimate and vulnerable, Self-Exile is a surefire pick at the Wildside.

When to see it:
Saturday, January 7th at 9 pm
Thursday, January 12th at 9 pm
Saturday, January 14th at 4 pm
Sunday, January 15th at 7 pm

(Photo courtesy of the Wildside Festival)

 Outta Here: An Original Musical

We very seldom shed tears at the theatre, but this did it for us.

Wildside’s co-programmer Johanna Nutter coined it “a master-class in authenticity”, and we couldn’t have worded it better.

Outta Here is an all-original musical written and directed by Dara Murphy and Jesse Heffring and musically directed by Elizabeth Lanzer that features 35 performers from the Summit School of Performing Arts. Set in modern-day Montreal, it follows five students who decide to ditch a school field trip in search of an adventure in the big city, far and free from the reins of their overprotective parents, teachers, and supervisors. A media frenzy ensues as a result of their disappearance, and in the process we are exposed to the young’uns colourful inner worlds, learning of their desires, dreams, and yearning for independence.

What makes the show so off-the-charts heartrending?: it’s a story of and performed by youth with developmental disabilities. The humour, wit, creativity and production value displayed, however, are singularly impressive, and it’s fundamentally impossible not to be moved by such unadulterated spirit on stage. A profound wake-up call of sorts, it reminded us of the transformative power of theatre and prompted us to go back to basics and redefine what constitutes a great performance: sincerity. Inspiring, humanizing, disarming – we have words of praise in spare and in spades.

Immaculate, Outta Here is a complete breath of fresh air. You will be changed.

When to see it:
Friday, January 6th at 7:30 pm
Saturday, January 7th at 3:30 pm
Saturday, January 7th at 7:30 pm

Buy tickets online at www.centaurtheatre.com
or call the Centaur Box Office at 514-288-3161

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