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A Few More Reviews To Be Going On With

By Alan Hindle

Saturday September 17, 2005

Doug and Al
In the broad spectrum of clowning there are all sorts of extremes. Some clowns go for the maxim “The Most Laughs For the Least Effort,” and, when they are good, can raise howls with the flick of an eyebrow. On the other end are the clowns who are essentially living cartoons. Ren and Stimpy in grease-painted flesh, flinging limbs and flapping faces like hurricanes in baggy pants and oversized shoes. Doug and Al are in the cartoon category in this show, which is almost a throwback to the days of vaudeville and its now seemingly quaint ideas of the double act. Doug (Eric Blais) has a brilliant physicality, lanky, ironed flat and vulcanized– a rubber band in a porkpie hat. Al, played by David Haddock, never stops vibrating with a fearful energy. Haddock plays against his physical type for laughs– he’s a big buy playing a terrified mouse– and he may not be doing himself any favours. During the sketch where the two clowns swap bodies back and forth, Al is a lot more interesting and even funny when he’s Doug. Doug can do either, but it would a shame for the two performers to swap personas since Blais has obviously worked very hard on his character.

Is this the Way to the Third World
Gloria Hole and her troupe tell such beautiful, strange stories with a voice totally unlike any other, so that you hardly notice the crudeness of her puppets. Will somebody please give this woman a grant so she can at least buy decent string for her performers? In First World we follow a South American (?) bug traveling from his home in the Third World to visit his brother in the First. Along the way he meets other bugs who give him advice, mostly how awful it is in the First and how badly they treat people. The Carnival Sized Cinnamon Hearts Band provides a kooky, snappy soundtrack to a languid, odd little gem.

Sea Peach
Cat Kidd has the most amazing voice. I think she must have lived on a Scots or Irish stew her whole life consisting of a big, steaming pot of whisky and sodden cigarettes. Sea Peach has been called a cross between Dr. Seuss and Aesops Fables, but I would go on to describe Kidd herself as Tom Waits dissolved in a lime margherita. Smoky, sexy, silly and fun. Sea Peach is s series of poems/stories performed in a sing-song, confessional style with great physical movement, and though the ongoing pace is rather too steady, Kidd brings you in and lets you play along in her semi-grown-up world of love, loss, loneliness and rediscovery.