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Fringe Show Reviews

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

The Seven Lives of Louis Riel

PKF Productions / Vancouver, BC

Posted: 07/16/2009 5:07 PM | Comments: 0

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The life story of Louis Riel isn’t exactly a comedy gold mine, especially in these parts. But fringe veteran Ryan Gladstone strikes an unlikely motherlode in this one-man show.

Having mined history for recent productions, the Vancouver-based Gladstone explains that in this case, his research failed to turn up a definitive portrait of the Manitoban legend. In fact, Riel was such a tough nut to crack, Gladstone claims he finished writing the script just three days before opening night, which found him calling on a friend for the occasional prompt.

And he still killed, spinning a story from seven different perspectives inspired by seven books that paint Riel variously as a hero, outlaw, murderer, madman, traitor and prophet.

Playing a multitude of characters, including a bison and a dangerous dame named Dominica — Dominica Canada — Gladstone goes a step further and adapts the tale to seven different movie genres, from western to horror and noir.

In one segment, Riel is a fey comic supervillain in the vein of Batman’s Joker, riding a pet buffalo and dining on "a meal of fresh puppy." In another, he’s an action hero who hooks up with Gabriel Dumont — a.k.a. Mr. D of the May-team. And just for good measure, we get a wisecracking God and one particularly sparkling moment of bleeping profanity.

Irreverent? You bet. But tempered with a massive dose of salty humour, Gladstone’s play is, ultimately, a tribute. And a terrifically funny one at that. 

— Pat St. Germain
 

From the official Fringe program:

A Canadian Cowboy Comedy!
Monster Theatre’s 10th year of irreverent, hilarious, intelligent Fringe classics.

(The Canada Show, The Shakespeare Show, Napoleon’s Secret Diary)

"Relentlessly clever, action-packed, utterly contemporary!" – *****
"Nothing short of a comic miracle!" - *****
"Wildly funny, wonderfully crafted and brilliantly acted! Flawless" – ***** CBC
"Gladstone’s script is a lesson in crowd-pleasing wit!" – ***** SEE Magazine

www.monstertheatre.com

Warnings: Subject Matter, Language,
RECOMMENDED: Mature Audience

60 min.

Venue#14 The King's Head Pub 120 King Street (2nd Floor)]

Tickets: $9
Under 18 not admitted.

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