“This year’s edition is all about transformation,” notes Centaur Theatre Company Executive and Artistic Director Eda Holmes – who here curates the annual Wildside for the first time since taking the company reins – and the changeovers don’t get any quicker or more riotous than the rollicking festival opener.
Having won the 2018 Frankie Award for Best English Comedy (Just for Laughs) and been nominated for Best English Production (Centaur Theatre) after premiering in Montreal at the St-Ambroise Fringe Festival this past summer, it comes as no surprise or scandal that Crime After Crime (After Crime) makes the prime cut of this year’s succulent Wildside selection. It’s sharp, explosive, and illicit fun.
The seventy-five minute medley of murder and mystery is the seventh scripted play by Toronto-based sketch comedy troupe Sex-T-Rex – a local Fringe darling by having previously brought the likes of Swordplay: A Play of Swords and Callaghan! to our heed. The original motley crew of writer-performers Conor Bradbury, Julian Frid, Kaitlin Morrow, and Seann Murray return to enthrall in what is a side-splitting three-part parody of motion-picture genres. Set in the fictitious Crime City over a span of 50 years, the threaded trilogy turns back the clock to take us from the beloved genres of 50’s film noir to 70’s Heist to 90’s buddy cop flicks. Mime, dance, and elements of puppetry carry the narrative in what is a nonstop, arresting display of physical comedy.
Assuredly, the most remarkable aspect of the piece is its artfulness. Scrappy and resourceful, the collective creation readily conjures a multitude of worlds, eras, and characters with the most undistinguished of objects but inventive of makeshift arrangements. Costumes become props, props become scaled scenic elements, and we are marvelled at what pure artistry can provision for rainfall, high-speed car chases, labyrinthine laser grids, and bombastic explosions. Crime After Crime (After Crime) is theatre that makes you fall in love with the form all over again (and again). And you’ll never look at hangers the same way.
Volume/audibility issues aside (nothing a simple turning down of the music dial can’t fix), opening night was a delight. Plenty of ha-ha and ah-ha moments make for a charming crowd-pleaser – a gateway Wildside show suitable for audiences of all ages. This rapid-fire, high-energy, no-frills production is a safe bet at this year’s fest; book your seats and bring your imaginations.
The 2019 Wildside Festival presents Sex T-Rex’s Crime After Crime (After Crime)
Performances: Jan. 8 at 7pm, Jan. 9 at 9pm, Jan. 11 at 9pm, Jan. 15 at 9pm & Jan. 16 at 7pm
Duration: 75 minutes
Venue: Centaur Theatre | 453 St Francois Xavier St.
Warning: Coarse Language. All ages appropriate.
Admission: $16 Adults | $13 Students/Seniors/Under 30s
Box Office: 514-288-3161 | www.centaurtheatre.com/wildside-festival
For more 2019 Wildside Festival reviews, head over to www.montrealtheatrehub.com/wildside-festival-2019/