Wildside Festival 2018 – DAY 1 Roundup: ‘The Morning After the Life Before’ and ‘Pluck’d’

Special Coverage: Reviews from Centaur Theatre's 21st Annual Wildside Festival

The 21st Annual Wildside Festival, running from January  4– 13, 2018 at the Centaur, is “the hottest two weeks in winter” in Montreal with its eclectic lineup of the best of brazen indie theatre. Once again the Hub is attending all of this year’s opening performances to provide you with a roundup of reviews and guide you in your selection of which shows to see. Stay tuned to our Reviews page for updates – new reviews published daily.

Also check out our preview article featuring interviews with playwrights from the fest here!


(Shows opening on Thursday, January 5th, 2018)

(Photo: Ken Coleman)

The Morning After the Life Before

Winner of Centaur Theatre’s “Best English Language Production” award at the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, it came as no surprise that the charismatic performing duo comprising Ann Blake and Lucia Smyth were met with an unanimous and unfeigned standing O at curtains on the evening of their Wildside premiere.

The autobiographical The Morning After the Life Before, written by Blake, abridges the events between her “coming out” and the historical, vanguard moments of May 24th, 2015 in which Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. A winsome Blake narrates ad recounts with refreshing candour and humour various conversations – or arguments, rather – with family, friends, acquaintances, and her partner Jenny – all played with tantamount charm by Smyth – on her quest for acceptance and belonging. Prepare for live music and layered cake (secure a front row seat if you must) – neither of which shunt the flow or the enthralling telling of a true story of equality, inclusion, and love.

Reverbing our sincere sentiments from our previous review of the show at the Fringe, Gúna Nua Theatre Company’s heartstring-pulling two-hander directed by Paul Meade remains a “cannot-miss” in its encore presentation at the Wildside.

Remaining Performances:
Saturday, January 6th at 9 pm
Sunday, January 7th at 3 pm
Wednesday, January 10th at 7 pm
Saturday, January 13th at 9 pm

Running Time: 62 minutes

(Image courtesy of B.A.A.P.)


Queer theatre is notably at the forefront of this year’s Wildside, and on the menu of this edition’s selection of decadent offerings is yet another of our Fringe festival favourites (read our review of the original production here).

Nominated for “Best English Language Production” at the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe, Pluck’d dramatizes the divide between a first-generation Chinese immigrant couple (Edward Wong and Kayo Yasuhara) and their queer, non-binary, radical, anarchist daughter (Mercedeh Baroque) as tradition and convention attempt to bring them together for Christmas. Sharp characterizations and energized performances lift playwright Kě Xīn Li’s biting script to present a polarizing piece that is at once poignant, provocative, and comical. To echo our previous viewing: while serious and precise in its dealings with the turmoil inherent between many first-and-second generation immigrants (and parent-child relations in general), the show leaves plenty of room for levity and laughs to lighten – but not abate – those tensions.

Eccentric, outrageous, and boundary-pushing, Pluck’d is quintessentially Wildside. Escape the deep freeze and feast on this boiling, savoury production from B.A.A.P. (Bald Angry Asian Productions).

(First-row and aisle audience members: as in The Morning After the Life Before, prepare here too for a perishable treat – albeit of a more erratic kind.)

Remaining Performances:
Saturday, January 6th at 7 pm
Tuesday, January 9th at 7 pm
Thursday, January 11th at 9 pm
Friday, January 12th at 7 pm

Running Time: 40 minutes
Content Warning: Violence and strong language

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

Single tickets: Regular $16 | Season subscribers/students/seniors/under 30: $13
4-Show Superpass: Regular $50 | Season subscribers/students/seniors/under 30: $40

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