Review by Danny Gaisin
Hamilton has a comedy Festival!!! Discovered this arcane piece of intel as a result of an invitation from EGG ZEPPELIN; Kris Siddiqi & Marcel St.Pierre’s theme-based improvisational skits. The Saturday evening crowd at THE STAIRCASE were rather young and certainly antsy…before; during, and after the performance. Annoying?? –more than somewhat and never a bouncer around when you need one.
The duo’s show opened with a longish pantomime. Any director worth his or her credentials will tell you that the ‘ouvre’ should be upbeat & progressive. Reversing the order, thus having Siddiqi do his reverse Pakistani humor might have kept the kiddies attention and their butts seated. The creative musical offerings by guest Peter Wildman of ‘The Frantics’; covered such subjects as the ubiquitousness of Tim Horton’s; Money, (and what we’ll all do for some $$); Christianity and ‘killing a cat’ – all of which had an impact and a message.
Post-interval, the audience is introduced to the staff of ‘Egg Zeppelin’, a greasy spoon located anywhere in Northern Ontario, and like flies on the splatter-guard, we listen to the two men discuss whatever subject is currently considered news. Last night it was the homosexuality of celebs such as Travolta, Cruise et al and the merits, or lack thereof, of de-closeting. While the dialogue progressed, Siddiqi is frying bacon – the sizzle & smell almost a distraction from their discourse.
Both actors possess quick minds; and their improvisational skills, coupled with an uncanny intuition about where each other’s mind is heading, made this part of the show a delight to observe. However, the subject’s limitations led to some repetition and this was reprised with the addition of Wildman and guest musician Arlene Bishop as patrons. I felt more than a little uncomfortable as the boys began to interrogate their guests about their personal intimacy. Obviously, there was no pre-planned subject matter as a comedic basis. Bishop’s two songs were well received; then curtain and a descending horde of starving tykes attacking the uneaten bacon strips. NOT COOL.
This is the second incident of audience malfeasance we seen; the first being a continual exit/re-entry that occurred on our first visit a year or so ago. If such disturbances bother other customers; imagine the distraction it must be to those performing. Staircase should consider ushers as well as a [pre-recorded] announced code of behavior while the lights are being dimmed.