Wildside Festival – DAY 2 Double Review: ‘Hootenanny’ and ‘Backdoor Queens’

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!

Read the reviews from DAY 1 and 3 here

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


(Shows opening on Friday, January 6th, 2017)

(Photo courtesy of the Wildside Festival)


A cheeky satire on celebrity culture, ‘Hootenanny‘ is a whimsical show-within-a-show about a fictional famous children’s entertainment troupe from Australia on the Montreal leg of their Farewell Tour. Dynamic duo Annie Eucalyptus (played by Katie Smith) and Jeff Van der Hoot (Will Somers) here give the beloved Wiggles a run for their money as they sing lively songs about chores, grandmothers, and adorable woodland creatures; you’ll want to leave the kids at home for this one, though.

Performed and conceived by Ottawans Smith and Somers, ‘Hootenanny‘ is rainbows and unicorns on the surface. Things begin to go awry between Annie and Hoot, however, when a series of compromising videos leaked live on stage threaten to tarnish their seemingly pristine, saccharine 10-year-long-and-going-strong reputation and partnership. Buried resentments arise, heated arguments ensue, and the chipper concert suddenly takes a chaotic turn as the two characters’ personal and professional lives disintegrate before the audience.

A parody on the phoniness of children’s entertainment acts, the piece is fundamentally Wildside for its political incorrectness, dark undertones, and outlandish concept. Catchy tunes accompanied by provocative lyrics make the show a real hoot and Smith and Somers have the charisma, chemistry, and comic chops to make it work.

Less-than-happy endings make us satisfyingly – and disturbingly – happy sometimes and ‘Hootenanny’ strikes that minor chord. We also just love a really good accent from down under.

When to see it:
Tuesday, January 10th at 9:00 pm
Wednesday, January 11th at 9:00 pm
Saturday, January 14th at 9:00 pm
Sunday, January 15th at 2:00 pm

Show length: 60 minutes

(Photo courtesy of the Wildside Festival)

Backdoor Queens

Friday was all about metatheatre at the Centaur as another act of showbiz antics took centre stage. This time, however, it was all about the behind-the-curtains tomfoolery as Café Cleopatra’s resident drag troupe House of Laureen gave a glimpse of what goes on in the dressing room of the most fabulous cross-dressing cabaret artistes in town. It’s dirty, it’s naughty, and it’s exuberantly entertaining.

‘Backdoor Queens’  is yet another transfer from the 2016 Fringe Festival, shimmying its way into the Wildside lineup with its unapologetic, unabashed, and uncensored social and political commentary. Starring Samuel Feria Garcia (Anaconda LaSabrosa), Antonio Bavaro (Connie Lingua), Ander Gates (Dot Dot Dot), Ryan Sauvé (Uma Gahd), and Mathieu Flageole (Noah), the show intersperses actual drag performances from the five queens in between the backstage drama. A different guest performer is also featured every night to mix it up (we were treated to local fan favourite Maxine Segalowitz). It’s not all girlish gossip, sex stories, and trash talk, though, as lead writer Tessa J. Brown steers the conversation into confessions of insecurities, musings on gender, and accounts of intolerance.

Some of the cabaret feel is lost in the polished vastness of the Centaur, but if audience reaction is any reliable barometer, ‘Backdoor Queens’ is hot, hot, hot.

When to see it:
Sunday, January 8th at 9:00 pm (special guest: Peaches Lepage)
Wednesday, January 11th at 9:00 pm (special guest: Lou Lou la Duchesse de Rière)
Saturday, January 14th at 7:00 pm (special guest: Tranna Wintour)
Sunday, January 15th at 4:00 pm (special guest: Biggs O’Toole)

Show length: 75 minutes

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

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