BASH’D written and performed by Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow, directed by Ron Jenkins (gay4pay co-op). Jan 10 and 12 at 9 pm, Jan 13 at 5 pm. Rating: NNNNN
In this gay rap opera, sizzling writer/performers Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow explore queer life with jaw-dropping energy, imagination and ballsiness. They play two very different gay guys who meet at an Edmonton bar, get married and then experience gay-bashing.
Using the notoriously homophobic genre of rap to deal with the subject is brilliant in dismantling stereotypes. Aaron Macri’s beats are sophisticated and catchy (Pachelbel and Debussy get sampled along with George Michael), while the rhymes surprise every single time. Unabashedly political and proud (the religious right doesn’t come off well, and these guys are from out west, so they should know), it’s one of the strongest Fringe shows I’ve ever seen, with not one wasted minute or idea.
THE NEXT STAGE a festival of new works and remounts. Presented by the Fringe of Toronto at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst). To January 13. $12-$15, passes $48 and $88. 416-966-1062, www.nextstagefestival.com.