UN­EVEN ACTS

NOW Magazine - - STAGE - GLENN SUMI

RIOT cre­ated and di­rected by Jennifer Jen­nings and Phillip McMa­hon (THISISPOPBABY/Luminato). At the Fes­ti­val Cabaret Room, Cana­dian Opera Com­pany (227 Front East). Runs to June 16. $39-$60.37. luminato.com. See Con­tin­u­ing, page 40. Rat­ing: NNN

As al­ways, there will be plenty of deep, thought­ful en­ter­tain­ment at this year’s Luminato Fes­ti­val. Just don’t ex­pect to find much in RIOT.

But for some breezy, light sum­mer fun, the cabaret from Ire­land’s THISISPOPBABY fits the bill. This would have worked nicely in the fest’s pre­vi­ous Fa­mous Spiegel­tent venue.

Liv­ing up to its ti­tle, the show reck­lessly mixes to­gether mu­sic, drag, ac­ro­bat­ics, dance and spo­ken word. The re­sults aren’t the most the­mat­i­cally con­sis­tent, but they are colour­ful, es­pe­cially in the eye-pop­ping cos­tumes by Niall Sweeney.

High­lights in­clude the en­dear­ing, goofy yet in­cred­i­bly nim­ble team of Cian Kin­sella and Cor­mac Mo­hally, aka Lords of Strut, who send up ev­ery­thing from 80s dance moves and fash­ion to or­ga­nized re­li­gion.

Dance duo Up & Over It (Peter Hard­ing and Suzanne Cleary) both em­brace and sub­vert known move­ment styles, par­tic­u­larly Ir­ish dancing.

And Kate Stan­ley Bren­nan, when she can be prop­erly heard, tri­umphs in a cou­ple of spo­ken word num­bers, par­tic­u­larly one about the cy­cle of poverty. A line in an­other bit about the re­cent ref­er­en­dum on abor­tion rights got cheers from the crowd.

While con­fi­dent em­cee Panti Bliss (Rory O’Neill), with her rat-a-tat-tat de­liv­ery style, could tie things to­gether, her rou­tines are un­even, es­pe­cially the dis­ori­ent­ing lip-synch­ing num­ber at the top drawn from quotes from campy movies.

Bet­ter is her ex­tended mono­logue about want­ing to be Far­rah Fawcett – al­though this, like a lot of the show, doesn’t con­nect with any­thing else.

Lords of Strut’s Cian Kin­sella (top) and Cor­mac Mo­hally have a RIOT.

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