Trudeautopia (Banquo's Banquet) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By Amber Landgraff

On my way out of Trudeautopia, presented by Banquo’s Banquet, I stopped to talk with two other women from the audience. I wanted to gather some other opinions on the show before I wrote this review. We all agreed that the show was very ambitious, and as such may not be completely appreciated as a Fringe performance.

The thing about political shows is that they often have a great message, but that message can get lost in the mechanics of performance. Either shows end up giving too much information and watching them feels like a history lesson. Or they assume a base level of knowledge that the audience may or may not have, which may leave some members of the audience feeling lost and confused. Trudeautopia suffers from the latter problem.

Now I will admit that I don’t know very much about the FLQ crisis (The Front de Libération du Québec). I am familiar with Trudeau’s statement, “Just watch me,” but am fuzzy on most other the details. While watching I found myself wishing that I had more background on events, so that I could better follow the subtleties being presented.

The show jumps back and forth between a stage play being written about the crisis, and the actual events that inspired the play. The actors double up on characters, a choice which may be part of the reason that the switches between the play and the actual events can get muddied at times.

That being said Melanie Hrymak was spectacular in the dual roles of June and Trudeau. Her portrayal of Trudeau’s speech to the press, the famed “Just Watch Me” speech, was very well handled and natural. A hard feat to pull off when dealing with recorded material. I also particularly enjoyed Chris Murray, Liam Morris, and Roselle Williamson in their roles as the disapproving board members at the theatre.

The show has potential, and if you are interested in this era of Canada’s history, then Trudeautopia offers a very interesting take on the subject matter.

Trudeautopia Venue 13 Factory Studio Theatre

60 min.

Thu, July 1 7:00 PM – 1304
Sun, July 4 4:00 PM – 1322
Tue, July 6 5:00 PM – 1335
Wed, July 7 11:30 PM – 1345
Thu, July 8 2:30 PM – 1347
Fri, July 9 9:30 PM – 1358
Sat, July 10 Noon – 1360

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee)

– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows