By Sam Mooney
In March I saw a staged reading of The Flying Avro Arrow Musical Comedy as part of the New Ideas Festival. I enjoyed it and ‘dibsed’ it then so I could cover it during Fringe.
Doug Warwick wrote and scored The Flying Avro Arrow Musical Comedy and Anne MacMillan directed it. There are 11 people in the cast – I’m sure that’s the largest cast I’ve seen in a Fringe show.
It seemed appropriate to see something so Canadian on Canada Day. The cancellation of the Avro Arrow affected thousands of Canadians and was responsible for a huge brain drain of Canadians to the US space program. It’s been the subject of a movie, books, articles, controversy, and conspiracy theories so why not a musical comedy.
I enjoyed it. Doug Warwick obviously had fun writing it and didn’t let the facts confine him. I’m pretty sure that William Shatner wasn’t ever a security guard at Avro.
The Steelworkers Hall is a difficult venue. It feels a bit like a small high school gym. Flat floor with rows of not very comfortable chairs. It took me a few minutes to get past the venue and pay attention to the show.
Warwick blended the Avro Arrow story with Star Trek. Why not? It meant that he could have Spock as a narrator and William Shatner as the security guard. There was even an appearance by Scotty. (I had no idea that James Doohan – the actor who played Scotty on Star Trek – was Canadian.)
The show is filled with puns, Star Trek references and corny jokes. I liked it a lot. I realized quite a few times during the performance that I had a huge grin plastered on my face. Of course, because it’s a musical, there’s also singing and dancing. It’s all broad strokes, the characters are caricatures although kudos to Stephen Flett who played
Diefenbaker and resisted shaking.
The props were minimal but creative. Cocktail strainers as microphones was brilliant.
Woven in to the puns, jokes, singing and dancing was the story of the Avro Arrow. A story that more Canadians should know. Before the show started the woman behind me asked her companion “What’s the premise?” He replied “Well, they cancelled it.” I interpreted that as “no friggin’ idea”.
Learning our history can be fun. Go see The Flying Avro Arrow Musical Comedy.
– The Flying Avro Arrow Musical Comedy is playing at The United Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street
– Performance times
Thu, July 1 8:00 PM – 2101
Fri, July 2 8:00 PM – 2102
Sat, July 3 2:00 PM – 2103
Sun, July 4 2:00 PM – 2104
Tue, July 6 8:00 PM – 2105
Wed, July 7 8:00 PM – 2106
Thu, July 8 8:00 PM – 2107
Fri, July 9 8:00 PM – 2108
Sat, July 10 2:00 PM – 2109
Sun, July 11 2:00 PM – 2110
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only), Online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person (June 30 – July 11 only) at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee), and $5 for FringeKids (no convenience fee for kids tickets).
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows