By Dana Lacey
Legoland bills itself as ‘contemporary vaudeville’, which really just means it has a bit of everything you never knew you wanted: whiz-bang nihilism infused with ukulele love songs, gangsta rap and sock puppets. Somehow, it works.
Produced by Fringe Fest sweetheart Atomic Vaudeville, there is plenty of goofiness, dancing and I-can’t-believe-that-happened sight gags. Yet Legoland manages to stay intelligent throughout. Writer Jacob Richardson’s dialogue is tight, weaving in satire, philosophy, unexpected metaphors and wicked one-liners: “This is theatre, you can’t use the F-word unless you’re pretending to be poor.”
The plot: Home schooled siblings Penny (15) and Ezra Lamb (13) grew up in an idyllic Saskatchewan hippie commune: “We put on humanistic talent shows: everyone came in first.” The two have never been to Legoland, a.k.a the Big Bad Outside World, and their first visit sends them home in a squad car. Turns out ma and pa were running a grow-op, and when the cops bust the little town the quirky pair are sent to Catholic boarding school. They show a couple bursts of intellect and free thought, and are promptly sedated. Desperate to fit in, Penny–played with amazing precision and passion by Celine Stubel–clings to the latest boy band. Her delightfully weird little bro Ezra (Amitai Marmorstein) manages to make silence hilarious, breaking it occasionally with bizarre puppet shows or to deliver great lines like “Wrestling is real–it’s the world that’s set up.” Both are able to make the whole theatre echo with laughter through their well-timed facial expressions and pure banter chemistry.
The Nietzsche-quoting duo embark on a cross-border road trip–funded by selling their ADHD meds–in hopes of winning over the lead singer, the dreamy Johnny Moon, recently reincarnated as angry rapper JK-47. Needless to say, it doesn’t go smoothly. The story is told as a presentation to Penny’s parole officer, complete with slides. Wanna know why she’s on parole? I could tell you, but it wouldn’t make sense. Just go see this play.
– Legoland runs until December 6 at the Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave.)
– Shows Tue-Fri 8:30 p.m; Sat 4 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
– Ticket prices are $30 Tue-Thur; $35 Fri-Sat; sat matinee is PWYC.
– Tickets are available at the box office at 416-504-7529, or online.