BWW Review: FIGHT NIGHT Dominates Edmonton's Citadel Theatre
A spotlight bathes the dark stage, illuminating the vintage microphone descending from the ceiling. The tweed-clad host arrives to address the audience, eliciting laughter as he describes the fierce competition up ahead. Welcome to Fight Night, an immersive theatrical experience that forces you to examine your beliefs and consider age-old questions: Who am I? Why do I think and behave the way I do? What qualities, values, and attitudes does a good leader possess? Armed with individual remotes, each audience member contemplates these factors while voting in several rounds for their chosen candidate. Only one can be left standing, and it's up to you to determine the victor.
After quizzing the audience on basic demographics (gender, age, marital status, religious beliefs, approximate monthly income), host Angelo Tijssens summons the five candidates, posing an unconventional question before any of them speak a word: Which individual do you think is best? It is only after the votes' percentages are displayed on large double screens that the candidates take their turns at the mic. As in a real election, they represent diverse values and ethnicities, showcasing unique personalities and dynamic stage presences. Our contenders are the charismatic Bastian (Bas) Vandendriessche, elegant Julia Ghysels, endearing Max Wind, sophisticated Aurelie Lannoy, and strident Aaron Gordon, all of whom gradually reveal their intentions and true colours throughout the evening.
As Tijssens states at the beginning, Fight Night is a show where anything goes. The one-and-a-half-hour production brims with twists and turns, exploring hot-button topics such as race, sex, and class. In reality show fashion, the candidate with the lowest votes leaves the stage after each round, narrowing voting options and escalating the tension of the remaining competition. The result? An insightful but fast-paced event filled with hilarious banter and poignant questions, forcing viewers to examine their beliefs in and how it influences our votes both during the show and in real life.
Fight Night runs at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre until October 27. It is recommended for ages 14 and up.