NOBODY'S BUSINESS THEATRE BRINGS TWO SHOWS TO THE TORONTO FRINGE FOR THEIR TENTH ANNIVERSARY
The first time I saw Johnnie Walker perform Redheaded Stepchild was years ago and I still remember it intricately. I had just finished a run of my own solo show which was centered around bullying and I had generated a true appreciation for work that all at once makes audiences reminisce, laugh and re-assert their goodwill-attitudes. To write a meaningful story and to tell it for the sake of entertainment is a tricky thing. But, while watching Walker's piece it came to me: there is power in precision. Throughout the show, Walker steadily makes his way over a number of very precise quirks, details, magical mini-micro moments that contribute to much bigger elements which contribute to an even larger mountain of message-ry. As we wind through this tragic "queer coming-of-age story", we're dazzled by the precise imaginings of an angsty tween, his dress-up box and the unfortunately creative and kid-like ingenious crafts of his schoolyard bullies. Having toured Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and New York City, Walker suggests that Redheaded Stepchild is their company's most successful show but it isn't the only show they're bringing to the Fringe this year. In an unconventional move and in celebration of their tenth anniversary, NBT also brings they're much-appreciated hit Amusement to the same venue.
Amusement is similarly quirky and precise. Walker and his partner-in-theatrical-miracles, Morgan Norwich (director of Redheaded Stepchild) play in a world that was inspired by the strange things the two co-creators had heard were happening behind the scenes at Disney Land. The show features two best friends, Rose and Sebastian, who get lost while seeking their fortune in an Orlando amusement park, much like Stepchild, the show pays homage to NBT's signature features.
As told to me by Walker:
"Both of these shows have a lot of humour and a lot of heart, which are both things that we strive for in our work. Both feature parody song lyrics, which we enjoy very much. And maybe it's because we are a lady and a gay dude, but we tend to approach our work from a feminist/queer perspective, something clearly on display in our shows Scheherazade, The Other Three Sisters, and A Maude-Lynne Evening, as well as Amusement and Redheaded. They're also both shows that are, in a way, about growing up. Redheaded is about the pain of being on the cusp of adolescence and feeling achingly far away from the put-together, adult person you long to be, while Amusement is about being in your late 20s and still feeling like you've got a lot to figure out before you know how to be a proper adult."
With open-hearted theatre their mission, Norwich and Walker absolutely delight the Fringe in both substantial pieces this year. Don't miss them and keep them on your radar because their quite the power-couple of quircky Canadian theatre.
CHECK IT OUT
Helena Gardiner Phelan Playhouse
July 10 at 04:15 PM--Redheaded Stepchild
July 11 at 01:45 PM--Redheaded Stepchild