Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: (Vancouver) Dancing With Rage

22 Minutes’ Mary Walsh delivers true Canadian comedy
Dancing with Rage is funny, but not very new

by Chris Lane

Newfie comedian Mary Walsh is in town performing her one-woman show Dancing with Rage, a very Canadian comedy centred around her most famous character, Marg Delahunty: Warrior Princess. It’s as Canadian as Tim Hortons. Dancing with Rage really is Mary Walsh’s own show, having been written by her and directed by her and Andy Jones. Walsh, known for being one of the main faces from CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, works in plenty of her best-loved alter-egos in what seems rather like a round-up of Walsh’s comedic work.

The general plot of the story is that Marg Delahunty is searching for her long-lost child, who was given up for adoption 44 years ago. The aging Marg is losing her vision and wants to look at her child before it’s too late. But the plot isn’t all that important, as it’s largely a series of sketches.

The show is about what you would expect from Walsh: filled with plenty of sharp political and cultural commentary. It helps if you hate Stephen Harper, or at least like to see him ridiculed.

If you love Mary Walsh’s comedy, then it’s worth coming to see her in Dancing with Rage, but don’t expect too much of a tour de force. It’s very funny, right from the opening scene where she has some truly hilarious jokes about Vancouver. That being said, a lot of the humour in the show seems dated, and some of the jokes have been recycled one too many times. It even includes footage of some of Walsh’s best sketches where she ambushes prime ministers and the like. They’re great sketches, but we’ve seen them before. Moreover, the production isn’t as polished as you would expect from a show featuring a comedian of Walsh’s calibre.

Mary Walsh is often described as a Canadian icon. She certainly is. But that doesn’t mean her latest work adds much to her iconic status.

Dancing with Rage is on at Firehall Arts Centre till February 17 

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