Neema Bickersteth and Matthew Romantini don’t get any buzz going.
BUGZZZ - A CAUTIONARY TALE by William Mackwood and Gwen Dobie (Out of the Box). At the Wychwood Theatre (76 Wychwood). To Sunday (June 10). $17-$25. 416-537-4191. See listing. Rating: N
The kindest thing I can say about Bugzzz is that it has an intriguing premise. In a post-apocalyptic universe, three insects find a manuscript of Puccini's opera Tosca, and wonder how a species capable of creating art and beauty could have done such a great job destroying their world.
The insects' names are Flit, Bott and Klik, and they're costumed by Teresa Przybylski with some imagination (nice use of colourful LED lights) and played by Neema Bickersteth, Chris Karczmar and Matthew Romantini with gotta-pay-those-bills commitment, even though the script makes little sense.
Writers William Mackwood and Gwen Dobie do nothing to define the characters or their backstories, and there's little conflict. The insects simply wing it from one contrived, earnest scene to the next. Example? One character discovers a tire, which another says is bad because it's connected to cars. Who knew?
The discovery of the opera score is just as arbitrary, although the silver-voiced Bickersteth does get to sing part of the famous aria Vissi d'arte, albeit in a buzz-sing fashion. The other two pointlessly hack their way through their numbers, although nothing is as dreadful as watching all three walk us through the opera's plot using Fisher Price-like toys - all projected onto a screen.
About that screen and the multiple microphones (one of which kept cacking out during the performance I saw): how ironic that a show about the environment lavishes more attention on its technical elements than the story or characters.
The subtitle claims it's a cautionary tale. No kidding. Next time, forget the electronic gimmickry and give us good old-fashioned storytelling.