T.O. gets the first taste

Richmond Hill Post - - Theatre - By Ron John­son

South Park cre­ator Trey Parker’s first project was a lit­tle-known and quite silly movie called Can­ni­bal! The Mu­si­cal. This was be­fore Eric, Kenny and Kyle, be­fore the big­gest sell­ing Broad­way mu­si­cal of all­time, The Book of Mor­mon. Heck, this was even be­fore BASEketbal­l.

This month, Toronto gets the first taste of the stage adap­ta­tion of Can­ni­bal! The Mu­si­cal, when it opens at the Pana­sonic Theatre on Feb. 10.

The show tells the story of Alferd Packer, the first and only man to be charged with can­ni­bal­ism in the United States. So why is this sad case good fod­der for a mu­si­cal com­edy?

“I mean, why not?” says Christo­pher Bond, who di­rects the show and co-wrote a num­ber of new songs with Trevor Martin in ad­di­tion to in­cor­po­rat­ing those from the orig­i­nal movie.

“First, I will say that Can­ni­bal! The Mu­si­cal is not a hor­ror show or very bloody. It’s a com­edy and a spir­ited send up of Ok­la­homa! It’s a big fun romp pok­ing fun at old­timey mu­si­cals. And, yes, the theme of can­ni­bal­ism is touched on. But there’s not much blood and guts.”

And Bond knows a thing or two about blood and guts.

The North Yorker’s first project af­ter uni­ver­sity was Evil Dead: The Mu­si­cal, which started out at the tiny Tran­zac Club in the An­nex be­fore mov­ing on to bet­ter venues and much big­ger crowds. It was unique for its in­cor­po­ra­tion of a “splat­ter zone” where peo­ple would sit who weren’t afraid of get­ting a bit, ahem, wet.

“We had a feel­ing at that point that we had this amaz­ing au­di­ence of fans that love this sort of hu­mour, so what could we do next?,” says Bond. “And the first show that came to mind was Can­ni­bal! The Mu­si­cal.”

He got the green light from Parker to work on the stage ver­sion, but then The Book of Mor­mon hys­te­ria hap­pened, and the project was put on the back burner.

“The Book of Mor­mon came back down to earth; they got in touch again,” says Bond.

“We dusted off the old script and wanted to take it fur­ther with new mu­sic, new fun, ex­plore the adventure a bit more.”

‘Can­ni­bal! The Mu­si­cal’ stars Eli­cia MacKenzie and Liam Tobin

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