Doo-wop Pop and Singing Flowers: A Review of Sixties Follies and Marguerite et les Mauvaises Herbes

Sixties Follies. Photo Steph Weiner. Sixties Follies. Photo Steph Weiner.

Les Nuits d’Art and Sixties Follies

Sixties Follies. Photo Steph Weiner.

Sixties Follies cast performing Teen Angel. Photo Stephanie Weiner.

 

Michel Garon and the Center for Education and Theater in Montreal (CETM) are developing a poperetta, Sixties Follies. A first pre-production performance was given at the Next Wave Festival of New Musicals as part of Montreal Culture Days. In addition to the show, that night marked a first combination art exhibition with an original musical. The unique hand crafted wooden boxes of Créations Arts Décoratifs (Michel Garon) were on display in the atrium.

Taking a page from the groovy teen flicks of the sixties, and a soundtrack right out of the local diner’s jukebox, Sixties Follies tells a story of young love and the misadventures of two brothers trying to get to California from Jersey City for a surfing competition. Unique about this work was dialogue in French combined with familiar crooner and doo-wop pop tunes performed in English. There is something comforting about being able to sing along with the tunes in a musical (think Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge). This was a cutesy story and shows a lot of potential to appeal to audiences of all ages. The songs were great and the idea of setting a story to fell good sixties hits seems to me to be a recipe for success!

 

Marguerite et les Mauvaises Herbes

 

Marguerite. Photo Steph Weiner.

Marguerite et les Mauvaises Herbes cast performing closing number. Photo Stephanie Weiner.

Un morceau de bonheur! What. a. wonderful. little. show! This performance was the first performance of Jean Elliot Manning’s Daisy and the Wonder Weeds adapted into French by Yves Morin. And it was a hit. This one-hour musical tells the tale of the perils of overdeveloping a city and the importance of maintaining green space. The play is not only meant to entertain, but to spread the message of sustainable community garden initiatives in Montreal. Set to music with adorable costumes, dance numbers, endearing good guys and over the top evil ones, this show has it all. The first time the weeds come out and sing, you will laugh so hard your sides will hurt.

Do yourself a favor, if you ever see that a production of Daisy and the Wonder Weeds or Marguerite et les Mauvaises Herbes is playing near you, go see it. Bring your friends, bring your children, your friend’s children, their friends, the people you meet at the park, the coffee shop… you get the idea.

 

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