Montreal Fringe Festival Reviews # 14: b&M La Mort de boKa et Mazy, Self Made Slut, 4’33 in Bagdad,

b & M La mort de BoKa and Mazy with Kathleen Aubert and Simon Fleury. Photo Louis Longpré b & M La mort de BoKa and Mazy with Kathleen Aubert and Simon Fleury. Photo Louis Longpré

b&M: La Mort de boKa et Mazy/The Death of boKa and Mazy

boKa and Mazy return once again this year: this time to say goodbye. They are known for their charming clowning, which seamlessly blends English and French; traditional theatre and clown; and complete silliness with heart-warming moments of truth. This year, boKa and Mazy take their own solo journeys through a creepy limbo state as they are slowly dismantled. The visuals of this piece are absolutely stunning – using the light, and specifically darkness amazingly to create an eerie feeling to the entire piece – which is very much enhanced by the original soundtrack from Phillipe Desjardins which runs through out. Interestingly, Kathleen Aubert and Simon Fleury spend the majority of the show playing other masked characters opposite one another. The time the clowns spend apart is very effective and beautiful, but if you are fan of the duo’s clown-chemistry and chicanery, it can leave you wanting more before they say their final goodbye. This show is a beautiful exploration of what the process of death might look like (especially if you’re a clown) which really does show off the vast theatre and movement based talent of this duo.  — Fiona Ross

$elf-Made $lut

Much too often, sex workers are misrepresented in theatre, TV, and the media by conflating Sex Work with Sex Trafficking and ignoring the experiences and voices of real sex workers. Brittany Sweets’ Self-Made Slut works hard to deconstruct these myths through introducing us to Queen Slut Janie and the charming Mom and After-School Worker behind the persona. Because so much of what happens is based around texts and screens, Sweets uses voice-over to convey both the positive support from other sex workers and the inappropriate messages from trolls that all come through her phone. The voices really humanize the other “characters” in the play – making the trolls even grosser, the clients relatable, and the women real. The power of Sweets’ piece really comes from the politics of it and her casual dismantling of stereotypes and myths around sex work that continue to leave Sex Workers in the margins. If you are well versed in sex workers rights activism, or just want to learn more about the real experiences of sex workers, this is a wonderful avenue into going deeper into the politics. — Fiona Ross

4’33” in Baghdad

It is so rare that a piece of theatre is thought provoking, extremely funny, utterly original, and sexy. 4’33” in Baghdad by Ulfet Sevdi and Nicolas Royer-Artuso is all this and more. The actual musicology lecture done in Ted talk mode is utterly authentic, and if you love or hate the American experimental composer John Cage, or have experienced his work, this is the best introduction to it ever.

Nicolas Royer-Artuso, an accomplished musician, and a fine academic, has juxtaposed the dry and humourless academic style with a scathing condemnation of the Gulf Wars which continue with so much pain and death. The genius of this piece is that every few minutes some very funky music comes on, and Nicolas performs an actual strip tease.

I was laughing so hard that I may have missed some of the lecture, but the dancing and stripping gave everyone a few moments to catch their breath before the blackest humour took over and shook us up.

This is a very minimalist, but the use of the screen for a power point presentation is hair-raising once you understand its message. The video of the hero’s mentor is also funny, but the video at the end, which utterly contradicts the John Cage aesthetic is too beautiful and moving to miss.

Thought Experiment Productions is a perfectly apt name for this wonderful company. I hope we will get to see many more of their works. — Anna Fuerstenberg 

4′33″ in Baghdad , $elf Made $lut, and b&M: The Death of boKa and Mazy  continue through June 17 at the Montreal Fringe Festival. 

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