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!
DAY 2 REVIEWS
(Shows opening on Friday, January 5th, 2018)
Let’s Try This Standing
It doesn’t get more personal, inspiriting, and heart-rending at this year’s Wildside than Gillian Clark’s autobiographical Let’s Try This Standing, a solo feat in storytelling in which the playwright-actor recounts her remarkable healing journey since her near-death experience in 2010.
Clark at once engages and enraptures with her palpable stage presence, proceeding to share the details of her tragic accident and ongoing medical treatment in the aftermath with commendable positivism, candour, and humour. (Daniel Oulton, who here contributes with projection and sound design, is also a welcome onstage figure.) Sustaining severe, life-altering injuries after getting hit by an SUV, which include permanent nerve damage and muscle atrophy, Clark has since had to relearn to sit and walk – a true survivor’s story. Perhaps more stirring than her physical disfigurement, however, is the emotional scarring left by the sensed pervasive invasion of privacy and felt larceny of one’s beauty, sensuality, and youth. Anecdotes of romantic dates and therapy sessions – often awkward or painful encounters – form the thread of the narrative, and the uncanny cheeriness eventually gives way to an even more admirable vulnerability. Clark wholly renders herself exposed.
A testament to the strength of the human spirit, Let’s Try This Standing (directed by Anthony Black) is an anchoring force at this year’s Wildside, bringing gravitas to the lineup. Pass not the opportunity to be held captive by this surefire selection from the Keep Good (Theatre) Company.
Saturday, January 6th at 3 pm
Sunday, January 7th at 7 pm
Tuesday, January 9th at 9 pm
Running Time: 75 minutes
Content Warning: Coarse language, descriptions of violence, and descriptions of sexuality
After receiving seven 2017 Montreal English Theatre Award (METAs) nominations and taking home two wins (Outstanding Costume Design and Outstanding Emerging Artist – Production, bestowed upon Sophie El-Assaad), it comes as no surprise that Cabal Theatre’s publicly and critically acclaimed inaugural production, in its blazing impetus, returns this season to secure a coveted slot at the Wildside.
A devised contemporary creation directed by Anthony Kennedy, Tragic Queens brings voices of queerness and feminism centre stage in framing the delirium and melancholy of three time-travellers (Jillian Harris, Alex Petrachuk, and Meagan Schroeder) stuck in a perpetual state of girlhood. Visited by the various phases of their childhood, adolescent, and adult years, each milestone in the life chronology is distinguished by a unique performance style and aesthetic, composing a striking collage of staged interpretations, movement-based imagery, and live video projections. The forecited award-winning design elements and the raw, riveting acting (read our extensive interview with the ensemble here) elevate wordsmith Rhiannon Collett’s poetic script to lay bare a groundbreaking and empowering piece on the exploration of identity, power dynamics, and the sexualization of women’s suffering.
(Viewers of the original MainLine show will note that the remount has been greatly compressed into an intermissionless, 90-minute version. The site-specific spectacle here, then, sheds some memorable scenic design elements and its culminating second-act, post-dramatic “lecture performance” to fit the Wildside scale and format. It has been rendered no less mesmeric in its Centaur transfer, but the updates are tangible.)
Sunday, January 7th at 9 pm
Thursday, January 11th at 7 pm
Friday, January 12th at 9 pm
Saturday, January 13th at 7 pm
Running Time: 90 minutes
Content Warning: Strobe lights and nudity
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