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Bushel and Peck

Reviewed By: Cindy Murdoch

July 27 2018

I had the misfortune of seeing these two shows almost back to back, and learned that they not only share one performer in common (Alastair Knowles) but also a similar concept and delivery, so I am combining both shows into the same review.  As I left the first show, Bushel and Peck, an audience member was greeted by their partner saying “that wasn’t 75 minutes” and she replied “thank god”, which pretty much summed up what I had been feeling as well. Knowles and his partner Stephanie Morin-Robert give a physical performance that starts out interesting in that it is mysterious and the costumes are fun.  However, despite a few cool Cirque-ish balancing and movement bits with a board, the show does not go anywhere, does not tell any tale and does not hold the audience's attention.  Too much time was spent sitting in the dark, listening to and sometimes watching the two performers babble nonsense and coo and caw like babies; at times, it felt like the audience was subjected to watching the Teletubbies.  There were several walk outs, and lots of awkward silence, and the only saving grace was that it ended a half hour early.

Two hours later, I went to see James and Jamesy in the Dark.  Starting five minutes late, I knew we were in trouble when the two performers spent the first eight minutes on stage in the dark with lampshades on their heads yelling “are you ready” while setting up a couple of chairs.  This was followed by another six minutes of them trying to get out of an invisible finger trap while cooing and cawing.  Then the lights go out again for six more minutes of nonsensical bantering in the dark.  Twenty five minutes into the show, the only people still reacting are small children giggling.  Again, more walk-outs and general awkwardness from the audience as we appear to be watching the Teletubbies again.  While James & Jamesy have put on good shows in the past, this one definitely does not measure up.  It is also frustrating and somewhat baffling to have not one but two shows with the same people in the same year performing the same poor concept.  Do yourself a favour and avoid putting yourself through the suffering of watching either of these two atrocities

Bushel and Peck
Venue 1 - John Hirsch Mainstage
Play-Comedy
75 Minutes
Parental Guidance
Warnings: Smoke, fog
Show Accessibility: Hard of hearing, deaf, English as a new language

James & Jamesy in the Dark
Venue 16 - PTE Mainstage
Play-Comedy
75 Minutes
General Audience
Warnings: Smoke, fog
Show Accessibility: Hard of hearing, deaf, English as a new language