Oh, the many wonderful uses for bubble wrap! This charming, lively performance reminds audiences young and old that creativity is the catalyst for the best entertainment. A sort-of musical playground set to the tune of Dennis Lee’s beloved Canadian nursery rhymes, Alligator Pie is a theatrical darling. Adorable, precocious, and mischievous, Soulpepper’s latest offering is totally delicious.
Truly stand out moments in this fanciful show include a rap piece reviewing dinner-time excuses for avoiding dreaded vegetables and a symphony formed from common office supplies; who knew, a stapler can provide such a solid percussion section?
To be fair, before I offer too much of an opinion, it should be noted that the true critics of this piece are the children who pay the actors the notable courtesy of sitting still for a whole hour to see the show. You know it’s a wonderful production when the most important audience members break out their little people laughs. It sounds like they’re getting away with something so fantastic it can’t be allowed and they’re bound to be found out any second.
What an incredible way to introduce a child, even a very young child, to theatre. The children I had the privilege of sitting near during this show were some of the best audience members I’ve seen in a theatre for ages. Totally engrossed, committed to the performance, full of energy to offer back to the actors working so hard, and genuinely appreciative of the craft on display, these kids were a dream audience.
Despite its target demographic, this show has a great deal to offer to its older patrons. It’s not often a theatre company so successful reminds a sometimes cynical audience of the true power of music and dance in harmony. Not everything needs to be deep – or complicated – to be profound to have real worth. Sometimes a laugh elicited by a truly creative act is really just about the best it can get.
Soulpepper, with the Creation Ensemble, has established a playground for the minds of some of its most promising, young actors. It’s a bit out of place perhaps to discuss individual performances in such a truly ensemble work, but Ins Choi and Mike Ross possess such incredible presence on stage, they're hard not to mention. That said, all the artists involved in this piece have so much to offer. Talent, energy, creativity – both individually and collectively, they are a true treasure for this gifted company.
Soulpepper’s exciting and eccentric sense of humour is on display with this show. A world-class company that creates time and space to engineer a show like this cements its status for years to come. The level of creativity and unique thought required to craft such a production should not be under-estimated.
Thank you, Soulpepper, for taking the time to remind Canadians and their children about the rich, wonderful, and whimsical literary history from which we hail. If you haven’t already, take your kids to this show.
Soulpepper's Alligator Pie
Alligator Pie, an original Soulpepper production, brings the celebrated children's poems of Canada's Father Goose, Dennis Lee, to vibrant theatrical life. Soulpepper's creation ensemble (Ins Choi, Raquel Duffy, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest and Mike Ross), fill the stage with music, invention and Lee's delicious imagination.
Poems by Dennis Lee
Created by and featuring Ins Choi, Raquel Duffy, Ken MacKenzie, Gregory Prest and Mike Ros.
Show dates and times can be found here.
Written by Jenn Hood
Jenn Hood loves theatre. She has acted in shows including Ghosts (Henrick Ibsen), Coriolanus (William Shakespeare), Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare), All in the Timing (David Ives) and Death (Woody Allen). As a long-time theatre reviewer for Spotlight, Jenn is thrilled to be a part of the dynamic Toronto theatre scene. Recently she has begun writing joint reviews with her father, Richard Hood, which often require (in the best way) a large glass of wine.