Comedians love Conservative politicians like Harper & Ford. They’re perfect for the purveyors of satire & political comedy. And after the kind of week we’ve had in Scarborough I hope we can be forgiven for seeking out a good laugh, particularly in a topical reference.
Last year Artistic Director Sten Eirik launched GFT–their first season—with a nimble production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, exploiting the classical beauty of the theatre, complete with birdsong & fragrant breezes from the lake.
Ambitious as that was, this season Eirik and company are attempting something more elaborate, namely Clouds Over T.O. an original musical based on Aristophanes’ Clouds. Instead of romance, we’re in the realm of ideas and philosophy. Eirik is not only director but author of the book & song lyrics, working from a translation by Christopher Kelk, in collaboration with composers David Buchbinder and Adam Sakiyama.
The payoff arrives slowly, because there’s so much exposition at the top of the show, just to explain the premise. But once it’s established, the show gets funnier. In the second act the show hits its stride, achieving the biggest laughs of the night.
The performances were uniformly strong dramatically. Sam Moses is Dr B.S. Kroc, a modern-day version of Socrates, teaching us how to put a spin on things. Adrian Gorrissen is his chief pupil Fergus, a kind of modern everyman, and, as the guy who gets most of the funny lines, he delivers. Tyler Seguin was especially persuasive in his hip-hop incarnation of Ziggy-Zag, the musical highlight of the show.
Clouds Over T.O. presented by Guild Festival Theatre continues until August 12th. Be prepared to dress warmly, as the air from the bluffs cools things wonderfully well.