Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Legoland

  Amitai Marmorstein and Celine Stubel (Photo: Barbara Pedrick)
The First Cut is the Deepest
by Shannon Christy

Atomic Vaudeville’s production of Legoland is a rich exploration of two intelligent teens who run headlong into catastrophe and discover that the world is a dangerous and cruel place where you must carefully pick what you love.  

The play itself is very fast paced, peppered with songs, dance, and puppets; seasoned with layered humour and quotes that ring in your head afterwards.  We learn that when it comes to theatre, “fuck” is actually appropriate if you are playing an urban youth; that syphilis surely had a hand in Shakespeare's and Nietzsche's great abilities; or that scarier than terrorism are the people who are afraid of it...

The level of talent extends beyond the stage and is reflected in every aspect of the work.

This is an outstanding and original work, which while making the audience laugh also requires them to think about how these two strange children notice so many strange things in our world.  The performances of Celine Stubel as Penny Lamb and Amitai Marmorstein as Ezra Lamb are sublime. Whether using a puppet of Jeffrey Dahmer or explaining why he wants to go to the U.S., Mr. Marmorstein has the unique quality of making you feel uncomfortable but unable of taking your eyes off him.  Ms. Stubel is equally compelling in her use of narratives to drive us through her character’s odd journey to becoming cool through the discovery of Johnny Moon, the leader of the fictional boy band Seven Up. 

The level of talent extends beyond the stage and is reflected in every aspect of the work. The script by Jacob Richmond is layered, uncomfortably funny, and resonates.  The direction by Jacob Richmond and Britt Small is precisely choreographed and at no time during the play do you want this experience to end. 

If the moral of Legoland is that we live in a strange place and we should choose with great care what we give our love to then I give a great deal of my love to this play.

I would recommend the play to anyone who thinks that the world we live in takes itself too seriously–and at times does not make a lot of sense–but who still finds time to laugh. I would not recommend this to anyone who is expecting to see a play about the history of Lego. 

Legoland will be at Theatre Passe Muraille until April 13. 

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