Trey Parker’s Cannibal! The Musical makes its Toronto debut at the Panasonic Theatre
Rambunctious, raunchy, and ridiculous, the world premiere of Cannibal! The Musical hit all the high notes at The Panasonic Theatre on Tuesday evening. I love a show that manages a fart joke in the first three minutes — and a show that sets up a joke but doesn’t deliver the punch line until about 15 minutes later.
On the surface the plot is preposterous. Six miners crossing the mountains from Utah to Colorado to look for gold. The get caught in the mountains and have to resort to cannibalism to survive. Nice little theme for a musical, except that it happened. It says so on the website, and on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia goes on to say that the student cafeteria at the University of Colorado Boulder is named the “Alfred G. Packer Memorial Grill”. That’s probably where then film student Trey Parker of South Park and Book of Mormons fame got the idea for the musical – which was originally a short film.
This iteration was adapted by writers Christopher Bond and Trevor Martin and composer Aaron Eyre. Thank you so much gentlemen; this is a delicious show.
Let’s face it, we go see a show like this for the humour. Rude, lewd, crude, sophomoric jokes are the draw and they were plentiful and funny. But there was more to the show than that.
Liam Tobin was terrific as Alferd Packer, sweet, naive, not too bright, and in love with his horse. It’s a tricky role, it needs to seem to be played straight but calls for good comedic timing not to mention great acting, singing, and dancing.
The rest of the cast was terrific too. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget Tim Porter as the cyclops. The image may haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life! It took me a few seconds to realize that as well as playing Noon he was also Loutzenheiser. the characters were so different.
There are so many images from the show flashing through my brain: Trevor Martin as Bell, singing and dancing with a pick through his chest; Mark Andrada as Swan, building a snowman, trying not to laugh when he was eaten; Marty Adams as Humphrey, coolly setting up a joke and then, as coolly, delivering the punch line about 15 minutes later; Mike Nahrgang as Miller, the sardonic miner and as Frenchy, the heartless trapper; Elicia MacKenzie as the Angel, rocking out a gospel song; Lana Carillo as Yuki, leaping into Kung Fu mode.
There was a lot happening on stage but director Christopher Bond managed all the action so it didn’t turn into mindless pandemonium. My son-in-law and I were both impressed with Stacey Renee Maroske’s choreography. It really was perfect. So was the dancing.The were a couple of scenes that made me think of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Oklahoma.
The ballet scene with the male dancers in tutus was priceless. I immediately thought of Swan Lake. Someone younger may have thought of Black Swan. Even younger people – or people with young kids – would have picked up on references to Frozen which I missed entirely but which John caught.
The horse’s ass was played to perfection.
If you enjoy tasteless, irreverent humour that skewers everything, go see Cannibal! The Musical. I bet you’ll really enjoy it. We did.
- Cannibal! The Musical is playing at playing until March 8th at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St)
- Performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7 pm with Saturday matinees at 2 pm and Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm
- Ticket prices range from $79.95 to $109.95
- Tickets are available online, by phone at (416) 872-1212/1-800-461-3333, and at the box office