BWW Reviews: MAKING LOVE IN A CANOE is a Glorious Celebration of Canadian Musical Theatre
On a frigidly cold night in the middle of a long Canadian winter, a group of people gathered together in a cozy café to experience what is quickly becoming Canada's newest National Treasure. MAKING LOVE IN A CANOE (which can also be experienced in album form) is a review of beautiful Canadian music theatre, created and performed by CanCon-loving duo Kyle Golemba and Adam White.
MAKING LOVE IN A CANOE (named in honour of a quote once attributed to Pierre Berton) is a project that began eight years ago, and has now been honed into a poignant and heartfelt two-man show. With Mr. Golemba on vocals and Mr. White on the piano, these two make for an excellent team. Their witty banter and evident love for Canadian content, adds to the overall performance. Whether they intended it or not, to this writer, they are now the Bob and Doug McKenzie of Canadian musical theatre (I'll let them choose who's who).
Although this show has been performed in a variety of locations, the setting this time, was the intimate and community-oriented, Revel Caffe-an independent coffee shop in the heart of Stratford, Ontario. Mr. Golemba, a native of Ituna, Saskatchewan, is well known to Stratford Festival audiences, as he has been a member of the company for 5 seasons since his Stratford debut in 'The Music Man' in 2008. In Stratford, he has appeared in shows such as JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, WEST SIDE STORY, and 42ND STREET. Last season, he could be seen at the Shaw Festival in Niagara On The Lake in GUYS AND DOLLS and MAJOR BARBARA, and he will be returning there for this coming season's CABARET and JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK. Mr. White is a performer, musical director, and teacher. He is currently Artistic Associate at Smile Theatre and is on faculty of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts.
In MAKING LOVE IN A CANOE, Mr. Golemba and Mr. White take their audience on a journey through the vast Canadian landscape of musical theatre-introducing us all to hidden gems along the way. This journey includes music from brilliant Canadian composers and lyricists including: Marek Norman, Neil Bartram, Jonathan Monro, Leslie Arden, Jim Betts, and Nancy White-just to name a few. Mr. Golemba and Mr. White begin the show with the song "This is Home"-a gem of their own. This song sets the (100% Canadian) tone for the rest of the evening!
From start to finish, MAKING LOVE IN A CANOE is clearly a very polished show, yet it still has a degree of spontaneity, earnestness, and self-deprecation that keeps it feeling fresh, fun, and...Canadian! The songs selected not only showcase some of the beautiful music created in this great nation of ours; it also showcases Golemba's fantastic vocal range, and his ability to beautifully (and sometimes hilariously) tell a story with a song. This was very evident in the selections from the beloved ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and ANNE AND GILBERT as well as the special encore that this particular audience was treated to!
Between each song, Mr. Golemba shares both personal and historical anecdotes to explain why each piece has found it's way into the show. What is very clear, is that Mr Golemba's and Mr. White's musical selections have not only been guided by their patriotic passion...these guys have also done their homework! They are able to illustrate the importance of sharing Canadian musical theatre through a societal and historical context, and then tie this in seamlessly with the music. A very powerful message was shared when Mr. Golemba quoted Mavor Moore (a pioneer in Canadian theatre, television, and radio).-Addressing the issue of funding from the arts being re-allocated to national defence during war times, Mr. Moore once explained, "I'm not against national defence. I just want something to defend". This, Golemba explains, is why he and White created this show. Canada has so much to offer in the arts, and Canadian musical theatre has beautiful stories to tell; yet many Canadians are not even aware of it! Well, these gentlemen are bringing some of that much needed awareness...and they are bringing it one bell-tone at a time! Bravo!
MAKING LOVE IN A CANOE the album can be purchased on itunes, cdbaby, or via the website www.makingloveinacanoe.ca
Keep your eyes peeled for a show near you!
Photo Credit: Max B. Telzerow