The International Children's Festival of the Arts through May 29 at various locations around Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West). $9-$15.50 (passes). For complete info, see Theatre Listings, page 80. 416-973-4000, www.harbourfrontcentre.com/milk.
Portofino-Ballade (Theatre en Gros et en Détail/Switzerland). Ages seven and up. May 26 at 1 pm, May 28 at 3 pm, May 29 at 12:30 pm. Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Rating: N
Peter Rinderknecht is a competent double bass player, but he's no writer or actor.
In his excruciatingly dull (listen for the sounds of kids sighing and shifting in their seats) Portofino-Ballade , he opens up the back of his instrument to reveal a miniature abode where a father and son live together uneasily. Every hour, the father pops out of a tiny corner of the bass as if it were a cuckoo clock; the bored, rebellious son shows no desire to follow the family trade.
The wooden puppets are crafted with more care than the narrative, which gets yanked around from place to place without logic or artistry.
Rinderknecht punctuates the show with jazzy, bluesy songs that have little to do with anything we're seeing.
One of the worst shows I've seen in seven years of attending the festival. No doubt the many early exiters - young and old - thought so, too.