Having been pummelled in Trinity by hurricane Igor, bloodied but unbowed, Rising Tide is back on its feet for the annual Revue show, which opened at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre on Friday.
After surviving Igor, the company must have been more than a little miffed that its scheduled opening on Thursday was pre-empted by the first big snow of the winter blanketing the capital city. Still, the show had a very large turn-out for its deferred opening night, and word has it that the shows are pretty well sold-out for the rest of the run, both in St, John’s and elsewhere in the province.
This is the show that will be remembered for the twin phenomena of the coming of Igor and the going of Danny. It starts with Igor, personified by Rick Boland, with big hair, swirling cape, and Transylvanian accent
Local political luminaries are conjured up thick and fast surrounding the feisty, departing Premier Williams — Fabian Manning, mayors of St. John’s and Mount Pearl, Loyola Hearn. Jerome Kennedy, in particular, gets a lot of satirical stick in connection with the doctors and with hero worship of his boss.
After closing the School for the Deaf, Darin King lectures disabled students about educational inclusiveness, while the female leaders of the three provincial parties are sent up as flamboyantly costumed witches from an evidently psychedelic version of “Macbeth,” triumphantly singing “I’m a Woman.”
There is a rich mix, too, of other provincial perspectives and recollections: communities with priests from India and doctors from Iran, the American huntress who mistook her husband for a bear, stranded Russian sailors, SWAT teams from three provinces mounting an unsuccessful siege, the INCO strike, ladies of Trouty salivating over army personnel assigned to reconstruction (”This Good Girl is Going to Go Bad,” the trio stridently, raunchily sings).
Shifting temporarily to England, the Wedding of the Century features Katie with a long, long train, a well-behaved Prince William, and Camilla and Prince Charles (the latter kilted and with enormous ears) being proffered matrimonial advice by a Newfoundland couple (Boland and Tina Randell).
The metrobus strike is touched on, of course, as are moose and cars, doctors and patients — and the main theme, more adulatory than satirical, the lamentation for Danny’s departure, in an elaborate, mildly sacrilegious Biblical sketch, to musical accompaniment, leaving behind a female Messiah to replace him; and in a disco-style, transgendered celebration of the Lower Churchill deal and the shafting of Quebec (with Joey Smallwood being resurrected to get into the act — “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again.”)
Music by Payne
Continuity throughout the show is provided by songs and music of Jim Payne (guitar, ukelele, violin), who does some heavy lifting, sometimes sentimentally, sometimes satirically. Particularly clever and well received was his song about a new building on Signal Hill.
As usual, the revue offers highly uncerebral, shot-gun comedy, sometimes laboured, full of stereotypes, and regularly resorting to the standard fare of vulgarism about private body parts and bodily functions, which are always good for grabbing a guffaw — or simply for grabbing.
Still, the opening-night audience was eager to laugh and evidently enjoyed the rough and ready downhome comedy.
Created and performed by Rick Boland, Glenn Downey, Rory Lambert, Amelia Manuel, Jim Payne, Tina Randell, and Berni Stapleton, and directed by Donna Butt, Rising Tide’s “Revue 2010” played at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre January 14-16.
It returns for a further four shows (January 26-29) after playing Carbonear (January 18-23). Thereafter, the production tours the province, closing back home in Trinity on February 26.
Adult admission is $25 ($23 for students and seniors) and curtain time is 8 p.m.
On opening night, with one 20-minute intermission, the curtain came down at 11:15 p.m., closing with an impromptu dance number accompanied by Payne on the squeezebox.
Not to worry about the length, though, there are plenty of feeble sketches begging to be excised in the interest of reducing the show to more urbane length for the rest of the run. For starters, try Amber Alert, the two-handed Purity Factory sketch, the bounty-hunter sketch, the unfunny Bunion’s Cove number, and the feckless, if colourfully costumed, mermaids looking for fish in a fishless outport.