THUNDER BAY , ON ---- November 28, 2012 --- At first I was not sure what to make of this play, try as I might there was no plot. In fact one might wonder if it was a play in the strictest sense, theatrical definitely! Once I had seen about 15 minute worth of humourous sketches I realize that there was a structure to this production that in effect replaces the plot we are so used to looking for. The production ”Completely Hollywood” is now on stage at Thunder Bay's Magnus Theatre and you should go! The three actors on stage do their best to parody some one hundred and eighty or so Hollywood Block Busters.
Along the way we learn some of the `twelve rules of Hollywood. One of them is “Every wannabe writes a script”. Skit after skit is performed and we soon learn that every new Hollywood movie is simply a combination of two older movies, and that there are really only two themes to a movie, one is boy meets girl, and the other is the Jesus story.
The play warms up as it progresses and I soon begin to appreciate this satire of Hollywood for what it really is. Finally it is summed up by one phrase. “Hollywood is America’s weapon of mass distraction” How true it is that when the world is full of problems people go to the movies for a dose of make-believe.
I especially enjoyed the skits from the days of silent film. The art of pantomime I thought was lost with Red Skelton on his weekly television show so many years ago. Other skits reminded me of the days when I sang in the Fort William Male Choir and we had to perform sectional skits at our Smorgasbords. So of those skits were so bad they were funny.
One of the memorable quotes about Hollywood is that the “producers never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. Hollywood shares a lot of the same qualities as American politics it seems. This is a show for the younger set, but having said that I enjoyed this play. The reason I say that is the content of the production and the level of satire leveled at Hollywood is full of youthful inspiration. The younger generations might get a lot out of a play that speaks their language.
Mario Crudo is an experienced Artistic Director. I am sure he could breathe life into a production of the Dead Sea scrolls if challenged. With this play the focus is the structure of the play and this must have been what intrigued him. I think he wanted to explore something different and this play is it. He has done a masterful job with this show.
As always Magnus lives up to its name as Northwestern Ontario’s professional theatre. The volunteers, front of house staff are all there to make the theatre going experience a happy one. I attended the gala opening and for some reason the audience seemed to spend more time than usual at the reception talking about the show and meeting friends. Not bad for a show without a plot.
Chris Coud, Jerry Getty and Ari Weinberg deliver an action packed nonstop performance. If you go you will experience a fine satire of an American Institution. You will see the pantomime since Red Skelton. You will be amazed at some of the skits and might even be tempted to take in a Fort William Male Choir Smorgasbord for comparison. Look for the structure of the play and forget about the plot! Come see what Mario and his troupe are up to at Magnus. The show runs until December 8, 2012 .
The box Office is 807 – 345 – 5552 or visit magnus.on.ca
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com