Review of Urban Tales : Undead Christmas at Centaur

Centaur Theatre. Photo Rachel Levine. Centaur Theatre. Photo Rachel Levine.

Centaur brought together six artists who had six different single narrator stories to tell as part of Urban Tales X – an Undead Christmas.

The first one Foolish, Foolish Thief narrated by Stephanie Costa has a couple venturing out to a golf course in the middle of the night, wanting to secure a natural Christmas tree. The typical couple quarrel one weekend before the holidays meant multiple laughs and cheers from the audience. When the couple finds a tree to cull, they encounter a woman in the woods, who has plans of her own and won’t let them have the tree so easily.

It’s a Wonderful Life narrated by Jane Wheeler, is a suburban woman’s tale as she tries to play the perfect wife, from taking care of the home and making everything happen for her husband Harold. She’s on everything from wrapping presents for his employees to making sure the holiday party is organized to a tee, only to find out that the expected has happened and he has a thing going on with you know who. To add flavour to this already tragic holiday tale is that the wife walks in on what is a fetish fest of her husband. Ouch!

A zombie is out scouting for food while the holiday season kicks in. He wants to be generous and kind and not feast on anything that walks, coz the holidays are a time to give. His attempts at discipline and self control doesn’t take him far and eventually he caves. Alain Goulem’s rendition of a zombie was impressive in I Saw Mommy Eating Santa Claus.

The stage was a mix of zombie movie mis-en-scene meets abandoned old warehouse from the 60s, and after a break we met with the fourth act: The Double-Goer narrated by Danette MacKay was about a paranormal investigator fighting to keep her place as the top investigator in the FPI (Federal Paranormal Investigation, I assume), while she is being ousted by a younger more ambitious aspirant. While she goes through self-doubt and simultaneously struggles to connect with her daughter, the true nature of her reality is revealed and certainly not what we expected.

Don’t Shout, Don’t Cry narrated by Daniel Brochu: The first story started out well with the creative premise of a husband witnessing his wife whispering in the middle of the night, while she is still asleep. The discoveries he makes from listening to her, to the consequences it has on their ‘real’ lives kept me engaged. But then suddenly the story turned completely morbid and I was left wondering how a bit of sleep talking turned into end of the world?

My favorite story was Emile narrated by Michel Perron. It follows this wonderful friendship between a seven year old boy Emile and his much older neighbour. Friendships are always formed in the most unlikely ways and Emile traces how the kindness of a seven year old can leave a lasting impact on someone, before they bid adieu to the world. It also speaks to how as we grow up our humanity continues to diminish, be it towards strangers, but even towards our own parents. It was truly tender and poetic.

Urban Tales runs till December 17, 2016 at Centaur (453 Rue Saint-François-Xavier) Montréal, QC H2Y 2T1. For tickets, click HERE.