Imagine a world where Goombas are smushed and green pipes can take you wherever your pixelated heart desires. A world where you can finish your opponent with a bicycle kick or a well-placed fireball. A world where the Princess is always in another castle. Welcome to Video Games: The Musical.
You don’t have to love video games to love this show, but it definitely helps.
The show was produced by Izak Anger Productions. The plot: a trio of friends, having freshly coded the virtual reality game of the future, are whisked into the Magical World of Video Games. There, they must tackle a series of bosses as they search for the ultimate Baddie — Player 1 aka Steve_69 aka the anti-gamer that ever geek will recognize. They must defeat him, or face turning into the very characters they adore, limited to the pre-programmed moves imposed upon them. The three separate in search for the kidnapped Princess. Yes, it’s even campier then it sounds, and pulls on your nostalgia heartstrings while slamming you with knee-slappers, belly laughs and guffaws of all sizes.
Did I mention that this is a musical? Lara Croft stalks through a warehouse singing an epic homage to first-person shooters, while Mario leaps, runs and sings the praise of platform games. My favourite was Lou Kang, a coder turned martial artist stuck fighting baddie after baddie even though he really prefers role player games (he comes around, though, when he remembers his combos).
A lot of your favourite characters make cameos: the wise old Pong, the squeezable Toadstool, the never-ending stream of crushable opponents, which I won’t ruin for you except to say watch out for falling Thwumps. Need more reasons to see this play? Here’s three: The sound effects, the duckhunt guns and the geekily specific references to obscure gamer history. This play is a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and will instill in you the need to go straight home to your favourite console and play until you beat the boss.
Photos: Both are courtesy of Izak Anger Productions and featured in the show’s program, which had a gamer sense of humour all its own.
Playing at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto)
Showtimes: Wed, July 6 8:45 PM, Fri, July 8 10:30 PM, Sun, July 10 1:15 PM, Tue, July 12 7:00 PM , Wed, July 13 4:00 PM, Thu, July 14 2:15 PM, Fri, July 15 1:45 PM
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