Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Billy Bishop Goes to War by John Gray and Eric Peterson

Some of my best experiences with film or theatre involve me knowing nothing of the production other than the title. This was one of those times, and boy did it pay off!

First, I'll give a little background information. Billy Bishop Goes to War was written by the aforementioned Gray and Peterson, with Eric Peterson being currently, possibly, better known as Oscar from Corner Gas. I had heard a little about Peterson's acting expertise outside of the realm of Corner Gas, but I had no idea. The two co-wrote the musical and it premiered in Vancouver in 1978. Since then, they have toured all across Canada, the United States, including Broadway, and even gone to the Edinburgh festival. It remains, according to Wikipedia as, "one of the most famous and widely-produced plays in Canadian theatre".

So, I got my ticket, grabbed my seat and waited for the show to start. Playing at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre in the Distillery District, the venue was quite small, but classy and comfortable. Old war-time music was playing and the stage was full of what looked like the remnants of a man's den, as well as a piano. The lights dim, and Gray and Peterson walk out, shake hands and the show begins.

Quite simply, it was a two-man show, with Gray on piano, and Peterson playing the lead and every character. Peterson narrates the journey as Billy Bishop and Gray supplements with mood music, playful banter, and at one point, a "truly fearsome tiger" impression!

The musical was flawless. Gray's skill on vocals and the piano boosted Peterson's narration. Peterson was a master of storytelling, not only thoroughly engaging the audience, but mastering several accents, incorporating the idiosyncrasies of each character, and describing the action with a glorious combination of ease and expertise. At one point, while several audience members were late in coming in, Peterson even paused the scripted production, engaged the audience and danced a little while Gray played some well-timed music, allowing the late comers to get their seats.

All in all, the musical was hilarious, quite unlike any musical I'd ever previously seen, and well worth any and all accolades it receives. It's a shame that it's their last show for awhile, I feel bad that you might not get a chance to see it, but if you do, I obviously recommend it.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to the Dickson family for taking me along! 

No comments:

Post a Comment