This is not my first time at Urbi and Orbi’s Urban Tales, but it is my best time ever. The tales were somehow less dark and twisted but deeper and more moving than in previous years. Nick Carpenter managed to make the music integral to the transitions and comic as well as moving.
There was the incredibly talented Michel Perron and his tale “Uncle” by Etienne Lepage translated by the multi-talented Harry Standjofski. A story of a bad boy scared good for Christmas, Alain Goulem played an almost philandering husband in a story written by his fabulous playwright wife Alexandria Haber. We got to savour the layers of irony there; but no real creepy feelings yet. Joe de Paul did a masterful job of telling “Everything He Gives Breaks” written by Justin Laramee and translated by Standjofski . By then things were back to the darker side of Urban Christmas. Bryden MacDonald was astonishing and terrific as he narrated hi sown “Emotion Anonymous,” a truly bleak and fascinating story of a man still lost in grief decades after the first ravages of the AIDS epidemic.
The truly magnificent addition to this year’s Tales was the women. From the opening sequence delivered with terrific timing and undaunted courage by Holly Gauthier-Frankel, “A Christmas Song” was brilliantly written by Paul Van Dyck and came at us like a freight train on a forty five degree gradient. Gauthier- Frankel teamed up with the inimitable Danette Mackay in a wicked rendition of “Santa Baby,” giving Michel Perron more bumps and grinds than any Santa expects. Danette also performed a fabulous and heart wrenching story about being stuck in a cage with a vampire. She was spell-binding.
For me, the performance that was totally brilliant and unexpected was “On My Dark Night,” delivered with unfailing elegance and unexpected depth of emotion by Deena Aziz. She was flawless as a no longer youngish actress attending a neighbourhood event in a part of Montreal going through a mysterious and possibly dangerous change. Harry’s writing was near perfect and Deena’s performance flawless.
Put on your woollies and grab a metro if you must, but do not miss this years Urban Tales at the Centaur. It only runs until the 15th.. There is a matinee as well as an evening show on Saturday…
Centaur Box Office: 514 288 31 61 or here: http://www.centaurtheatre.com/urbantales.php
453 St François-Xavier