It’s no secret that when it comes to theatre, my go to is musicals. When I’m going to see a show, it’s usually a musical. That being said it can also be fun to see shows that are more out of the ordinary, shows that aren’t your typical theatrical performance, that aren’t the average play or musical. I have seen a few such shows (a couple within the last few months) which are the inspiration for this particular post.
For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus on 3 particular productions that I have seen: Cuisine and Confessions, Fight Night, and Peter Pan On Ice.
Cuisine and Confessions, by The 7 Fingers, which I saw at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, is a show that combines storytelling, acrobatics and food. I saw the show back in November and I’d never been to a production like it. (Yes, I’m Canadian theatre/arts fan and I’ve never seen Cirque du Soleil). The things the performers could do were incredible! I’ve also always been interested in food-related things (fun fact: growing up I wanted to be a baker/pastry chef). Though my career goals have shifted, I am still interested in food related things and love watching cooking shows and reading and watching food related stories. So you can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to see a theatrical performance that incorporated food! It wasn’t just that food was an ongoing theme in the production either, there was actual cooking done onstage during the show, including an omelette, pasta, and banana bread, and the audience got the chance to sample the pasta and banana bread at the end of the show! And the theatre smelled great (even with the limited sense of smell I had at the time due to a cold)! I didn’t really know much about the show going into it other than that acrobatics and food were involved but that made it even more fun and I really enjoyed the show!
I also recently saw Fight Night which was playing at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. Similarly to Cuisine and Confessions, I didn’t really know much about this show going into it other than that there was an election and audience participation involved. Again, I had never seen a production like it. Every audience member was given a little remote style thing which we would use to vote throughout the show. Right at the beginning of the show we found out the demographic of the audience (age, gender, salary, etc.) and from there the “contestants” came out onstage and even before hearing from any of them we had to vote for our favourite and least favourites. From there the audience continued to vote on various things, we’d learn more about the contestants, and more of them would get “voted off” until there was only 1 left. The experience was all the more interesting because I saw it the Thursday after the US election- so thoughts on voting and elections were fresh in my mind. It was also interesting as a theatrical performance because it’s not a show that has a story of any sort. You’re also never really told what you’re voting for or why you’re voting for these people. It’s not a specific position they’re vying for, just to be the one elected, the “winner.” There is a part of me that wishes I saw it more than once to see how it would change with different audiences. It was a really cool experience and I’m really glad I got the chance to see it, even just once!
Thirdly I want to talk a little bit about Peter Pan On Ice which I saw back in 2011 in Eastbourne, when I was studying in the UK in my first year of university. I would say this particular production was probably more in line with a ballet (though I’ve never actually been to the ballet either), they were just skating rather than dancing. What was particularly interesting and exciting about this production was the stage. When I hear/see the phrase “on ice” I automatically think ice rink/arena. But that was not the case for this production. This Peter Pan was staged in a theatre, a standard proscenium theatre, with the ice on the stage! As is a recurring statement with this post, I had never seen anything like it and even since have not seen anything like it. I’m a big Peter Pan fan, in any of its forms/stories, and seeing it presented in such a way was very exciting and entertaining.
It can be a lot of fun going to see shows that are out of your particular norm. It’s fun seeing the different possibilities of what can happen onstage and experiencing things you might not have thought possible like ice on the stage or banana bread being baked onstage during a show! There are so many possibilities in the theatre. While it’s great going to see more “traditional” theatre it is also great to see something that’s a bit more unique (not that “traditional” theatre can’t also be unique) and be reminded that there really is so much out there, so many ideas and possibilities that can be explored in any number of ways!