Hunchback screams

Hunchback is the much-anticipated follow-up to Nevermore and Frankenstein by Catalyst Theatre.

The Edmonton-based theatre company has done the developmental portion of their award-winning shows at Keyano Theatre before launching them on Edmonton and the world.

Theirs is a new way of story-telling, by combining movement, music, narration, character, and innovative design in a way that is utterly unique.

Hunchback was great. Heather and I went last night and were swept into the world of Quasimodo, Notre Dame Cathedral and Paris of the late 1400's. It was great, but it wasn't perfect, which for me, added to its charm. Some of the transitions were a little choppy, certain scenes felt like they were only 75% of the way there, and a few of the songs were discordant. Honestly though, this is the beauty of the process.

The Catalyst company comes to Fort McMurray to perform and to work the show. They play to an appreciative audience at night, review how things went after the show, then reconvene the following day to work. The show the audience saw at preview will have been vastly different from what we saw last night, which will be substantively different from what the Edmonton audience will see when Hunchback has its world premiere at The Citadel Theatre from March 5 to 27. The "process" is what makes getting a spot in the ensemble such a coveted opportunity, aside from the paid work and the strong likelihood that the show will have a long, long run and travel far and wide.

Hunchback is a love story; it swims in a sea filled with all kinds of love: obsessive love, filial love, brotherly love, lost love, rediscovered love, unrequited love, and unconditional love that threads its way through the entire tale thanks to a kind-hearted man with spinal issues. The final image, of two skeletons in an eternal embrace reverberates as you rise in adulation and appreciation for theatrical excellence and an unparalleled devotion to telling classic stories in a completely fresh way.

This is one of those productions that you'll want to see more than once. It will stick with you as you scrape off your windshield, drive home over slippery roads, and crawl into bed and into a deep deep sleep. It will be there when you wake up and as you grow old and eventually die. It's that kind of story; it's that kind of production.


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