That roar of approval you heard from the Japan Foundation last weekend was the audience response to the fiery bellows of film monster Godzilla, with his radioactive breath and edifice-smashing tail. In a reading of Yasuhiko Ohashi's Godzilla, directed by Susan Doyon and Jim Millan, Damien Atkins played Godzilla as a wide-eyed, soft-spoken suitor of the teenage Yayoi (Cara Pifko), whose family disapproves of her choice of mate and would rather she settled down with a well-paid Sony employee. Pifko, wearing Mary Janes and a red ribbon in her hair, made an adamant young lover. Other stand-outs were Brendan Healy as Yayoi's rejected boyfriend and Lorne Cardinal, having great fun as the monster Mothra (here Godzilla's brother), who spews sticky thread whenever he gets upset. There might be a full production down the road; could it involve some Asian actors, please?
And speaking of Asian theatre, a new group, Gum San Productions (the name is Cantonese for Golden Mountain, the optimistic name that Chinese immigrants gave to North America) premiered last week with a sold-out, four-day run of David Henry Hwang's FOB (Fresh Off The Boat). The 70s play brings together three Chinese-American university students and two mythological figures in a tale of isolation and empowerment. The cast -- artistic director Leon Aureus, Henry Li and Hiromi Okuyama -- brought high energy and emotional depth to the show, even if some scenes didn't work. With a reading series, a playwriting competition and an evening of one-acts to come, this group has already started to climb.
payne in the ass
"I grew up with a lisp in a trailer park in Halifax," quipped Nikki Payne at Saturday's late-night set at Yuk's Superclub, her first shot at headlining. "Could it be any worse?" She's got a point. Payne's rude and crude act succeeded thanks to sheer hard work. Fart, shit, snot and other four-letter-word jokes were accompanied by much humping of invisible objects. She's unafraid to look ugly for a laugh. As a bonus, her connection with the audience seems real. Only question: PC excuses aside, can a comic with a serious speech impediment become a star?