BWW Review: THE GREAT WAR is a Visual Wonder
The next addition to VideoCabaret's The History of the Village of the Small Huts series revisits Canadian history once again in THE GREAT WAR. Now playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts with its continued partnership with Soulpepper Theatre Compnany. Written and directed by Michael Hollingsworth, VideoCabaret presents a unique and quirky take at one of the most important moments of Canadian history.
History is only fun to a small percentage of the population, but VideoCabaret has successfully brought Canadian history to life with humour and eccentric personality. The key? The video-style vignette's that stitch together short scenes. Taking place in a dark enclosed box, Adam Barrett's visual projections and strong lighting from Andrew Dollar are able to paint these vivid snapshots using minimal props. Paired with outrageous wigs, makeup and costumes - VideoCabaret is creates a distinctive brand and style for this piece.
Production value aside, the ensemble cast anchored by strong performances by Mac Fyfe and Linda Prystawska. Together with the cast of seven, the ensemble seamlessly switching between scenes and characters and settings. The narrative follows the events of the war, from scenes with the Governor General to the trenches of Ypres. Blackouts act as smooth transitions between these video-style vignettes - every time the lights would come back on, the audience was surprised with new faces, costumes and props. It's truly a wonder.
While THE GREAT WAR features strong production value and even stronger comedic performances, it's long runtime of almost two and a half hours has its faults. By the end of the first act, I was skeptical of how the production was only half way done - history can only be so exciting. It's saving grace was the visual projections and effects that continued to deliver, time and time again. Still, the pacing of the piece could be cut down significantly and be just as strong.
Now playing at at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tank House Lane. Visit soulpepper.ca or 416-866-8666 for more information.