Review: Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit Of Fun (One Little Goat Theatre Company)

Ubu Mayor is a lampoon of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug, on stage at Wychwood Theatre

Bacon. Cocaine. Oral sex. Politics. Add in a dash of brotherly love and you have the fantastic production of Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit of Fun by One Little Goat Theatre Company, now playing at the Wychwood Theatre. This play, with music directly inspired by Alfred Jarry’s 1896 Dadaist classic, Ubu Roi, is a hilarious, thinly veiled lampoon of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Doug. I think it’s important to start this review by saying that I’m not a political person. I don’t exercise my right to vote, not because I don’t believe in the process, but because I feel that the world is beyond repair. Or maybe I listen to too much Black Sabbath. Regardless, I had no political allegiance going into this play so I took this production strictly at face value. With that being said, Ubu Mayor is the funniest show I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s theatre of the absurd at its finest. If Alfred Jarry had been at the Wychwood Theatre last night he would’ve been mighty proud. Directed, written, and composed by Adam Seelig, Ubu Mayor sees Ubu (Richard Harte), manipulated and controlled by his wife Huhu (Astrid Van Wieren) and older brother Dudu (Michael Dufays) as they attempt to keep Ubu in power as mayor of Toronto. In an odd twist of events, Rob Ford’s resignation of the mayoral position happened just hours before this show’s debuted. But with Doug Ford’s entry into the mayoral race to replace his brother, this play’s commentary on power becomes even more relevant. As far as the script is concerned, Seelig has written a great one. It’s chalked full of humour and insight. The dialogue is peppered with plenty of Ford sound bites while retaining the spirit of Jarry’s original play. The subject matter is at times crude and the language dirty. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be. And since humour is based completely on personal taste, this show may not be for everyone. Ford supporters may not appreciate seeing their heroes displayed in such a way but this show isn’t about making fun of the Ford brothers, it’s about the corruption that comes along with power. I can’t say enough good things about this production. Everything works, from the effective set dressing to the tight musicians, with a crackerjack cast who work their butts…sorry, ASSES off (in keeping Jarry’s spirit alive). Ubu Mayor: A Harmful Bit of Fun is an absolute must see. I’d gladly challenge even the most staunch Ford Nation supporter to watch this play without cracking a smile. They would fail miserably. Details:

Photo of Astrid Van Wieren, Richard Harte, and Michael Dufays by Yuri Dojc.