Puppets, Comedy, and Gore

Whitehorse has an awesome art scene. This month, The Guild will try to make it more awesome when its production of Cannibal! The Musical hits the stage.

The play, which is based on the film of the same name, has been circulating North America for over 15 years, to rave reviews. The story is centered on one man’s journey from Utah to Colorado, in which a few of his comrades get eaten along the way. Despite its sordid title, Cannibal! The Musical is a comedy.

Brian Fidler from Ramshackle Theatre is the director. “Anthony Trombetta, the artistic director at the Guild Hall, has had the idea to produce this ridiculous musical about cannibalism for a number of years,” says Fidler.

Cannibal is a unique, and perhaps, a risqué choice, but Fidler is confident it will be a hit. “It’s very ridiculous, campy, and over the top. When we sat down to do the fi rst reading there was a lot of laughter in the room,” he says. “Now we’ve added all the tunes, which are hilarious, and I think the audience is going to have a great time with this fl esh eating musical romp.”

The musical will feature the talents of Anthony Trombetta as the main character, Alferd Packer. Kyle MacDonald, Carolyn Westberg, Colin Milne, Lee Malynchuk, and Ryan McCallion play the group of miners that get lost with Alferd Packer in the Colorado wilderness. Winluck Wong plays a variety of supporting roles, and comedian Jason Westover also joins the cast.

As for the gory components — which considering the title are to be expected — puppets will be used. “I have never seen any of the other Cannibal productions,” says Fidler. “I want ours to stand out. Really who can resist some gratuitous puppet gore? There will be blood; there will be dismembering of puppets. Be warned.”

Fidler has been in the theatre world for a very long time. He enjoys directing his own plays, but welcomes the challenge of directing a musical. “It’s kind of a relief to have the words right there and to work with the actors on intention and the nuts and bolts of movement. Also it’s a large cast so there’s the logistics of staging and working with all experience levels.”

In a world dominated by social media and technology, live theatre struggles. The way Fidler sees it, “We all get enough screen time and online entertainment, but a play can affect you in a visceral way, the performers can make mistakes and they can also blow you away. It’s like real life happening right in front of you.”

This quirky musical comedy aims to provide a new outlook on live theatre.

The show takes place at the Guild Hall in Whitehorse from April 9 to April 25. Tickets range from $23 to $25. April 9 will feature a special preview rate of $10, and on April 15 you can pay what you can. Tickets are available at the door and at Whitehorse Motors.

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