Thursday, June 19, 2014

Review: Kitt and Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future (Fringe)

Beyond the Fringe Title
by Janis Kirshner

It’s International Wildlife Diversity Appreciation Day and two awkward but intelligent, socially aware grade-eights, Kitt and Jane (the boy’s unwelcome nick-name) are at the front of the assembly. Minutes in they’ve hijacked their own presentation to let us know the apocalypse is coming in five years. They don’t have a lot of time to convince us that this is 'science, not fiction' and survival techniques must be learned.

The text is drawn from scientific reports on genetically modified food (including B.C. salmon where the company is based) and other modern menaces. This is SNAFU Dance Theatre (Little Orange Man) so expect creativity all round. You’ll find whimsical music, shadow work and puppetry, not to mention an important, current message.

Characterizations are strong and charming. Shy, uncomfortable co-creator Rod Peter Jr.’s Jane is honest and realistic, never slipping into cliché nervous. Ingrid Hansen as Kitt is a bundle of energy, infectious in her focus to get the job done. Along with Hansen, the other co-creator is Kathleen Greenfield. Quite the triumvirate.

There are many quirky ideas including their year-long experiment eating chard, handing out tea lights to the whole audience (they didn’t miss a beat when mine rolled away out of sight), playing the glockenspiel, and having a cake fight.

I was happy to be reminded about some crucial environmental issues, though I wasn’t completely drawn in by the teenaged protagonists. However, as Kitt says, “Whatever happens, it certainly won’t be boring.”

June 13 - 21

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