Canada It's Complicated (Greg Locke)

In Review: Mary Walsh’s ‘Canada, It’s Complicated’

Produced by This Hour Has 22 Minutes veteran, Mary Walsh, Canada, It’s Complicated is a piece intended to provoke audiences to look at Canada’s past in a way that is meant to entertain and illustrate that our wonderful country was built on a series of “big fat lies.”

Canada, It’s Complicated is structured like educational children’s programming – complete with music, skits and historical re-enactments but coupled with a very adult satirical twist. The script is full of topical anecdotes that are quickly followed up by quick-witted jabs to remind the audiences that as much as we would like to celebrate what a wonderful country we live in, we have a lot to be sorry for.

Touching on themes including the ‘discovering’ of Canada, The Hudson’s Bay Company and the treatment of Canada’s Native people, demonstrates that although Canada has a rich, proud history, it is spotted with many atrocities and hypocrisies. While the statement of the material is very clear, being delivered in the forum of live comedy puts the audience in the position where both laughs and gasps can be an expected reaction. As the heavy subject matter comes closer to the foreground some scenes take a sad poignant direction.

Scenes feature parodies of game shows, a Canadian classroom and even a ‘Hamilton-style’ rap battle about Louis Riel that keep the crowd on edge wondering “what will they say next”. While still maintaining the campy, juvenile vibe of the show complete with upbeat acoustic melodies, the cast surprises you at every turn by using history and stats to turn the mirror on society with some well-timed quips and shock laughs.

Canada It's Complicated (Tyler Warren Ellis/The East)
Canada It’s Complicated (Tyler Warren Ellis/The East)
Canada It’s Complicated (Tyler Warren Ellis/The East)

The ensemble cast who include Chad Anderson, Evelyn Chew, Thomas Duret, Dakota Hebert, Peter MacDonald, Jamie Pitt, Nathan D. Simmons all tackle the challenging subject matter in stride. While other comedy pieces simply require overblown gestures or unnatural delivery, this form of serious comedy requires a sort of finesse to ease the audience into a sense of security before hitting them with the message. The message is that learning from our past is the way, we as nation, can move forward and grow using Canada’s most valuable resource… our sense of humour.

Sept. 26 Lennox Island, PEI John J. Sark Memorial School, 7 PM
Sept. 27 Summerside, PEI Harbourfront Jubilee Centre
Sept. 28 Charlottetown, PEI The Mack
Sept. 30 Georgetown, PEI Kings Playhouse
Oct. 3 TBD, QC
Oct. 4 Quebec City, QC Morin Centre
Oct. 5 Hudson, QC Hudson Village Theatre
Oct. 7 Pangnirtung, NU UQQURMIUT Centre for Arts & Crafts
Oct. 8 Iqaluit, NU Frobisher Inn, 8 pm
Oct. 10 Ottawa, ON Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, 8PM
Oct. 11 Ottawa, ON National Arts Centre
Oct. 12 Ottawa, ON National Arts Centre
Oct. 13 Kingston, ON The Grand Theatre
Oct. 14 Toronto, ON The Great Hall
Oct. 15 Sudbury, ON Fraser Auditorium
Oct. 17 Thunder Bay, ON Thunder Bay Community Auditorium
Oct. 18 Winnipeg, MB West End Cultural Centre
Oct. 19 Portage La Priarie, NB William Glesby Centre
Oct. 20 TBD, MB
Oct. 21 Moose Jaw, SK Moose Jaw Cultural Centre
Oct. 23 Saskatoon, SK Aden Bowman Collegiate Theatre
Oct. 24 Saskatoon, SK Broadway Theatre
Oct. 25 Samson Indian Reserve, AB Community Centre
Oct. 27 Spruce Grove Horizon Stage
Oct. 28 Red Deer, AB Central Alberta Theatre
Oct. 31 Kelowna, AB Rotary Arts Centre
Nov. 2-3 Vancouver, BC The Historic
Nov. 4 Victoria, BC UVIC – Farquhar Auditorium
Nov. 7 Dawson City, YT Klondike Institute of Art & Culture
Nov. 8 Whitehorse, YT Community workshop
Nov. 9 Whitehorse, YT Old Fire Hall
Nov. 12 Haines Junction, YT St. Elias Convention Centre

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