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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: Squeegee Nights

The program/flyer/windshield leaflet for Squeegee Nights

Urban Hobbits
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Alain Mercieca's Squeegee Nights is a big boisterous, mess of a thing which started 18 minutes late, lasted 72 more and, incomprehensibly, this included one 15-minute intermission. 

At intermission my companion put her finger on it. "It's not a play. It's play." And when I asked her why she thought they were having an intermission she said, "I think they're deciding where the evening should go from here."

"We have no greetings in the morning," one of the veteran squeegees of the title tells the new kid, "just like the Inuit."

It is definitely that kind of production from that kind of company in that kind of house. You must deliver yourself to the half-scripted, half-improved hijinks and find what sense in it that you can. Simply, I found the company and there odd work endearing, often quite funny and, very occasionally, there was a shot of unpolished brilliance in the form of utter, surreal ridiculousness. "We have no greetings in the morning," one of the veteran squeegees of the title berates the new kid, "just like the Inuit."

Sure, there is ironic commentary about the conventions of theatre itself—especially about "socially conscious" theatre because this is not about street kids and their woes. What seizes you is the faux-mythos of these Squeegees. These are urban Hobbits and they even have a quest which sends them into the bowels of Berri-Uquam metro station (a fearsome place indeed). And they have songs—loud, boisterous songs which are as ungainly as the rest of the elements of the performance.

The young cast—Simon Chavarie, Lise Vigneault, Kirsten Rasmussen, Glyn Jones and Katie Leggitt (with live music by Bloody Tits, performed by Jeff Louch and The Scabhearts)—is having a lot of fun and you either buy in or don't and my friend and I (and the rest of the miniscule audience) did.

Squeegee Nights by Alain Mercieca is on until Saturday at Theatre Ste-Catherine

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