Caught the inaugural Eclectic Circus last week. No, not Electric Circus. No dancin' bods, just lots of laughs over at Tim Sims. Eclectic Circus is four comedy events -- Shehori Bros' Character Night, Lisa Merchant's All-Girl Revue, Neil Muscott's Comedy Debate and Steven Morel's 30 Days = 3 Plays -- happening monthly on Wednesdays throughout the summer.
Muscott's debate has promise in this format, especially given the wealth of character improvisers. The concept of having no host for the Character Night is intriguing, but may not work in practice. Morel's idea of writing three plays in 30 days seems questionable, given that there's so much good theatre in the city anyway.
The most solid preview came from Merchant, who emceed a whip-smart group of women including Jenny Parsons' sex-advice-dispensing nun and Teresa Pavlinek's admin assistant who's trying the comedy thing and in the process subverting every female stand-up stereotype. Natasha Boomer: a name to watch.
After the show, video contributor Shoshana Sperling told me that her The Regina Monologues will be part of Passe Muraille's 2002-2003 season. Artistic director Layne Coleman, also a native Saskatchewanian, was so impressed with a segment at the Rhubarb! fest -- which also featured Pavlinek -- that he made her an offer on the spot.
Also learned that red-noser Helen Donnelly has just been hired as a character actor for Cirque du Soleil's North American tour a mere 18 months after her audition! Patience pays. She begins after her Fringe show, Day One.
Stopped into Fruit Loopz, the inter-disciplinary slate that took over Buddies in Bad Times during last Saturday's Pride festivities. The Fruit Loopz arts blitz comes out of Supporting Our Youth, an agency committed to keeping kids connected to community. As is often the case with young talent, performances were raw but rewarding. Singer/songwriter Richard Kikot has made the right choice by toning things down and all-grrrl guitar band the Plath delivered a rockin' set. Some more complex vocals from the all-grrl team and they could make waves. Pay attention, too, to monologuist Florence Chee Wai Heung, who combined movement and rage in an unformed but blistering blast of a piece.