Wednesday, December 3, 2008

webb nets a christmas cracker


first, there's a ladybug on my laptop. do i put it outside, where it will likely freeze to death, or leave it inside, where it may starve to death? it's on my monitor right now, making it hard to concentrate on reviewing jeremy webb's a christmas carol.

never mind:

i haven't seen an audience have so much fun at neptune in a long time. we're talking genuine, tears-in-the-eyes guffawing, not the learned chuckles you usually get at the threatre.

webb plays 30 characters, helped by an acrobat from cirque atlantique and two giant puppets, and he does it brilliantly. the speed with which he switches from withered old scrooge to jolly bob cratchit is delightful. kids, older people, people who looked like they'd never been in a theatre before, they were all enthralled by the carol - especially when webb goes '3D' and enters the audience. this led to my acting debut at neptune: webb-as-butcher admired my dickensian scarf and asked if i knew what had happened to dead scrooge's money. ( i didn't.)

the solo performance creates a dreamlike state - we, too, are stuck in scrooge's barren brain, forced to watch the slow destruction of his life. it adds an intimate psychological-drama edge to the play that is lost with a full cast. scrooge is a lonely old man - what better way to show this than to see him talking to himself?

webb rocks the comic scenes, as always. much like his peter quince in a midsummer night's dream for sbts this summer, he has the audience in his hand and tickles them at will. with his audience interaction, he brings a touch of the english pantomime to the play. as the guy behind me said, 'he's really good.'

go to bahhumbug.ca for show times, etc.

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