Sat Aug 27 – 2:30pm
Wed Aug 31 – 10:15pm
Thu Sept 1 – 8:15pm
Sat Sept 3 – 8:45pm
When Paper Street Theatre announced they are doing a sequel to their wildly successful improvised show An Improvised Quentin Tarantino from a few years ago, I knew I had to see their show with a Hi-Yo, Silver! Away! The classic material that made up the lore of The Lone Ranger is a Western, and I’m not talking about the Disney travesty. The only hurdle was to escape out of the East — the doldrums of the suburbs known as Gordon Head — and “Go West” to the heart of downtown, where the beat (excitement) happens at the Victoria Event Center — one of several fixtures representing the arts and culture to discover in this city.
Dave Morris leads a diverse talent of well-established names in this city arts scene — Chris Gabel, Andrew Brimmell, Christina Patterson, Missie Peters, Brooke Cameron, Byron Kjeldsen, Scott Thomson and Monica Ogden — to give Victoria Fringe Festival attendees a taste of the Old West, Quentin Tarantino style. That means plenty of swearing, and since I can get away with it, they are fucking hilarious! Borrowing bits and pieces from films like Django Unchained and onwards, including modelling the narrative around The Hateful Eight, the show is infused great moments to even make Tarantino giddy. As with any improv shows, they get concepts from the audience. They built a working story involving a Red Dirt Samurai, English Buffet and a Wounded Barmaid as three principal ideas.
The narrative is classic Kill Bill. As with any product from this filmmaker, the story is laced with blood and vengeance. Red confetti makes for a fun presentation whenever gore is spilt and imaginary weapons keep everyone safe lest a blade accidentally fly. Ogden made for a very cute and convincing heroic lead (yeah, I love cowgirls). Patterson and Brimmell played English siblings who were out to paint the town red. I always admire Patterson’s work and she played up the accent more than Brimmell to indicate who is truly dedicated to the British cause. Because these shows are light-hearted entertainment, not a lot of depth is meant to be offered. I knew a reference to the Boston Tea Party was coming, and while that can lead to a political statement, what was said did not distract. It helped solidify why the villains were here.
I laughed along to the expert delivery of the humorous moments and everyone cheered when another character died. This show is a perfect tribute to the tropes Tarantino loves using in his tales, and the cast knows his products very well. It’s like they watched the films religiously before they took to the stage. Even Peters looked wily as the sister of the Red Dirt Samurai; her death is what made this vigilante turn wild. Nothing revealed is really a spoiler since another performance can go down a different route.
There are times where I wish I can record on video Paper Street’s shows for prosperity. They are meant to be seen and experienced live, but there are times where I want to rewind and laugh along to that moment again. In the Friday show, it’s when an added toss of a rose (from my vantage point, that’s what it seemed to look like) at a “beheading scene.” In what makes this show terrific is the live music accompaniment by Dan Godlovitch. He provided many a familiar tone heard in Westerns and if only I was better able to whistle along, I would. The performance worked in perfect beat to the guitar sounds and the night could not be any better. Now I’ll be dusting my fedora and heading off to the sunset.
5 Blokes out of 5