CréActifs’ “P B & J (The Breakfast Club for a new generation)” is a #throwbackthursday triumph.
The piece was hosted at Mainline Theatre, a familiar site for many fringe-goers. This time, I walked into the black box and saw a large white tarp-like carpet, which only until the lights shone on it, did I notice was hundreds of sheets of paper, collaged together and held down with tape. The techs were finishing the job as the audience waited, taping down the edges.
Then entered Mr. Hayes, teacher, or “King of Saturdays/Monarch du samedis”, (played by Lucas Gizard) in paper crown and silver cape, brandishing a whisk. Mr. Hayes introduces the show with a monologue, not the only one in the play (I’ll get to those), exposing the predatory nature of a bully, and his dedication to the plan. His plan: bring together four of the school’s meanest bullies, to expose the true culprit of the crime. In true Breakfast Club tradition, the group’s contradictions and conflicts are the heart of the show.
Next, we are introduced to Cameron (Adrien Lodygensky), Ingrid (Kalpana Sellan), Isabella (Hélène Forest), and Ray (Laura Gauthier). Each with their own unique personalities, bullying tactics and hidden desires. Uncontrollably, they begin to bully each other, picking at their vulnerabilities as they would anybody else at school. Cameron’s vibrancy on stage was exciting, a true class clown, creating a comfortability by loosening up the audience. Ingrid’s intelligence shone through her work, with a force and power to attack her opponents. Isabella breaks the tension with a softness in her speech, a flip of her hair, and a strong side glance at her fellow detention-survivors. Ray’s nonchalance and “don’t care” attitude rounded out the group, creating an ensemble of powerhouse performers.
The monologues were my favourite, allowing a character the stage for a moment alone, to expel their energy and explain themselves. Ingrid’s solo dance party to a Pink Floyd song (no spoilers) was a fantastic mid-show combustion. It followed Isabella’s monologue, a powerful speech defeating the expectations of the “popular girl”.
The show escalates to a master plan to overthrow the teacher, capturing him with their chairs. Unfortunately, actual peanut butter and jam only made an appearance about two-thirds of the way into the show, but when it did, the show’s eruption into song, along with a full sing-along from Adrien Lodygensky and choreographed dance from the group.
Musically, Créactifs hit the nail on the head, taking to covers of popular 80s songs, playing on the tech generations addiction to their phones, incorporating them in the show as music players, flashlights and even to check the time. The success of the show is the script, written by Éléonore Brieuc, in a perfect balance between English and French, with strong monologues and intense accusations performed by the foursome.
Although some of the cast struggled a little with their lines, maybe due to the language switching, the whole show was lively, physical and a cool envisioning for the original club of bullies. It repeated enough of the original themes to callback to the movie we’ve all seen, yet the modernization felt genuine in its approach to the newer generations.
“WHO IT’S FOR”
For the jocks, the nerds, the princesses and the misfits of all ages.
CréActifs presents “P B & J (The Breakfast Club for a new generation)”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Check out all our other 70+ reviews
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!