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Theatre Reviews

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