AN INCONVENIENT MUSICALWritten and directed by the Rumoli Bros. (Brandon and Kurt Firla), lyrics by the Rumolis (additional lyrics by Waylen Miki), music by Miki.
Factory Studio (125 Bathurst). Previews June 12-??15, opens Tuesday (June 17) and runs to June 29, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $23-$28, Sunday pwyc, previews $15.
416-504-4473. Rating: NNNNN
Don’t be surprised if there are no playbills for the Rumoli Bros.’ new version of last year’s Fringe hit, An Inconvenient Musical. They’re trying to keep their show as energy-efficient as possible, to respect the principles of Al Gore, the man whose hit movie, An Inconvenient Truth, they’re spoofing.
“We’re considering projecting the program onto a screen,” says Kurt Firla, one-half of the Rumoli team. “Our posters are printed on 100 per cent recyclable paper. We’re also in negotiations to power the show using energy from carbon-free source Bullfrog Power.”
He pauses, perhaps thinking he’s being too serious for an interview about a comedy.
“Oh yeah, and because we’re trying to expel as little CO2 as possible, the actors won’t be moving at all, just holding their breath.”
Ah, that’s more like the Rumoli Bros., the duo who, along with composer Waylen Miki, have emerged as one of the cleverest low-budget, high-laughs musical comedy teams around. For the remount, the group has “recycled” hits from other musicals. Rent’s anthem Seasons Of Love gets spoofed in Seasons We Love, and the act-one finale, Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow, borrows from every famous song that has those words in it.
“Waylen knows pretty much every musical out there,” says Kurt.
The group’s previous Fringe remount, SARSical, a spoof on the SARS crisis, was nominated for several Doras, and Miki won one for sound design/composition.
“We have way bigger egos now,” jokes Brandon Firla. “We retired afterward, and this is our comeback show.”
“But seriously, it helps out,” adds Kurt. “We can apply for grants now. We’re this weird mix of theatre and comedy. We don’t quite fit on a stand-up stage or on the theatre stage.”
The Calgary-born brothers first introduced their smooth-talking Rumoli alter egos – think Martin and Lewis but with a Simpsons sensibility – in a 2001 Toronto Fringe show called The Last Laugh.
After that they hosted tons of shows, perfecting their slick personae at every opportunity with patter routines, movie poster parodies and now with the musicals.
“We’re probably better known as the Rumoli Bros. than as the Firlas,” says Kurt. “We’ve become a brand.”
Some of the best comics in the city clamour to work with them. An Inconvenient Musical’s cast is a who’s who of the best improvisers.
“They’re so good we basically handed the script to them, walked away and then showed up on opening night,” laughs Kurt. “They always bring something new to the script. There are even set-?ups for jokes that allow them to change things every night.”
When I ask about future musicals, they don’t miss a beat.“We’d like to do one about you, Glenn,” deadpans Kurt. “It’s called You, Me And Sumi.”
First, though, they’re taking An Inconvenient Musical to the prestigious New York Musical Theatre Festival, where another homegrown show called The Drowsy Chaperone first got noticed south of the border.
“Our only goal is have a show that will allow us to retire in the next two years,” says Kurt. “It’s not about the environment at all.”
And in case you’re wondering, Al Gore does know about the show. One of the producers of his documentary saw it during the Fringe and liked it.
“There’s talk now of our bringing Gore up here, or going to him with the show. But if the show gets bigger, obviously we need him to approve, since he’s a character. If he doesn’t approve, we’ll change him to David Suzuki.”