Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Better seesee Zoozoo before it's gonegone

  • Print

It's bye-bye for Zoozoo.

Imago Theatre of Portland is making its Winnipeg debut this week on the show's North American farewell tour. The well-regarded mask and mime company intends to retire its signature production in June and move into a more dance-oriented direction.

Based on first impressions, that's a pity. Zoozoo is funfun.

In nine wordless vignettes at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, a menagerie of hippos, anteaters, frogs, polar bears, penguins, fireflies and uncertain species are introduced into familiar human situations. Two pajamas-wearing hippos try to get some sleep but instead act like a pair of blanket hogs. Five penguins, crowd favourites based on rousing response, take part in an hilarious game of musical chairs. An anteater in a restaurant attempts to get service from an oblivious anteater waiter.

Many of the creatures are curious and not acquainted with theatre's fourth wall -- the imaginary boundary between stage action and its audience. The kids seem to enjoy the performance on stage but go crazy when the animals wander into their midst during a school performance this week.

When five fluffy but curious polar bears bounded off the stage and began climbing over the mostly delighted youngsters, one uncertain Grade 2 or 3 boy ran for his life. Even after the bears proved they meant no harm and later made a second excursion into the audience, the youngster again shot out of his seat and took several steps in the direction of the exit.

MTYP's final offering of its tumultuous season is pure entertainment without a lesson meant to be learned, perfect for kids heading into spring break next week. Not all the five-to-eight minute pieces -- silent except for Katie Griesar's engaging score -- have a major comedic payoff but every one boasts visual pizzazz. The formally attired anteaters sport long snouts with tongues that unfurl like New Year's Eve blowout noisemakers. Again the young spectators jumped to their feet in delight when the anteaters headed towards them with their tongues extended.

The humour on display is subtle and easy for even the low end of the four-and-up target audience to understand and appreciate. Three frogs bob up and down in unison until one gets carried away with his freestyling, earning death stares from its unimpressed playmates. When one notices a passing fly, it doesn't snatch it out of the air with its tongue, but nonchalantly whacks it with a fly swatter. From the roar of approval, the children were amused.

There were several solo pieces that showcased the dexterity of performers Jonathan Godsey, Darren McCarthy, Keyon Gaskin, David King and Pratik Motwani. One featured an oversized paper bag that was being propelled all over the stage by something alive inside. Another involved larvabatics in which it was hard to determine which end of the wormlike form was up.

All these creatures are endangered species because Zoozoo is about to close forever. See them before they are made extinct.

Theatre review


Manitoba Theatre for Young People

Opens Friday at 7 p.m., to March 31

Tickets: $15.50 at 204-942-8898

Three and a half stars

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 22, 2013 D3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


I Dream of Diesel at Rachel Brown Theatre scene preview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Down the Hatch- A pelican swallows a fresh fish that it caught on the Red River near Lockport, Manitoba. Wednesday morning- May 01, 2013   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google