Review: “Scotch & Soda”: a jazz and circus party with the cool kids

Special Festival Coverage

“Scotch and Soda” (Photo Credit: Sean Young)

“Scotch & Soda” is the love child of Company 2, a group of acrobats and multidisciplinary circus artists, and The Uncanny Carnival Band, a jazz band. It is a thrilling acrobatic lineup and jazz concert all at once; the two blend perfectly into something irresistible and breathtaking.

The atmosphere is a celebratory one: double bass player and clown Eden Ottingdon welcomes us by announcing that he is happy to have us all gathered here for his wedding. “Si vous aimez pas mon mariage, le sortie est là… et là”, but honestly what’s not to love? He spends the next hour surrounded by all his friends in celebration. They take over the bar for the night, lining party trick after party trick, each one more daring than the other. Trapeze, aerial rope, teeterboard, artistic bicycle, dance, and many a balancing act, “Scotch & Soda” has everything, something for everyone.

And the music: WOW. The music is electrifying. The music is what truly makes it a party. Company 2 and The Uncanny Carnival Band are the coolest kids on the block; who knows why they’ve invited us to their party, but we’ll take it.

“Scotch and Soda” (Photo: Jessica Connell)

Each acrobat and each musician has their moment to shine, and every single one of them is excellent. And when they come together, the thrill is only multiplied. Plus, they are clearly having a great time and their joy is infectious. Except for James Kingsford Smith, who plays the “no-nonsense” friend who firmly urged the others to get ready for the wedding ceremony, and talks them down from tricks which he deems “a really bad idea“, but that I am willing to believe they could have pulled off. But he is loveable in his own way, literally made my jaw drop when he performed on acrobatic straps, and even he ends up giving into the cheery atmosphere all around him. It is impossible for anyone to leave this show unhappy.

Just when I thought the initial talk of marriage was just a part of his clowning around, Ottingdon does in fact get married. His bride: no spoilers, but let’s just say they are a perfect match, which we should have predicted right from the start. And she looks gorgeous too. They share their first dance/duet as a married couple. A kid in the audience utters a “wow” impossible to contain; performers and crowd alike share a moment of laughter. Then, they wrap it up with a few final tricks and send us off with our hearts a little warmer then when we arrived.

“Scotch & Soda” is the most wholesome thing you’ll ever see, with acrobatics that defy physics and the smoothest jazz imaginable. You can only wish your wedding was half as cool.

The Montreal Complètement Cirque Festival presents Company 2’s


Venue: Théâtre St-Denis
(1594, St-Denis Street, Montreal, H2X 3K2)
Dates: July 10th – 21st, 2018
Admission: $22.25 – $56.23
Box Office: In person at Théâtre St-Denis or TOHU,
by phone at 514 376-TOHU (8648), or online at

Check out the festival’s full indoor lineup and free outdoor programming at

Violette Kay

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