Photo: Fairen Berchard
Ride the Cyclone2
Musicals are kind of a strange form to begin with so it's fitting that the Atomic Vaudeville company from Victoria fully embraces that strangeness.
Who knows where they found the inspiration for this concept: a group of six teenagers in a choir in small town Saskatchewan perish when their roller-coaster car plummets to the ground. Now they are in a sort of purgatory with a sentient fairground fortune-telling machine who guides them through a game show to send one of them back to their life. OK.
In fact you can kind of ignore the plot, which doesn't make a lot of sense if you think about it too closely. What works so well here is the spooky set, the great choreography, the really fun musical numbers and the strong singing. Each kid basically sings a number illuminating their character, with musical styles ranging from gangsta rap to honky-tonk to power ballads. Some characters are more nuanced then others - some hide more secrets. Over-achiever Ocean is keen to find a lesson in every story and the kids here do all find one - recognizing the preciousness of life.
It's a weird show which is not always sure how to bring it's weird elements together but it's funny and entertaining and well worth an hour and half of your time.