Explosions for the 21st Century (Pressgang Theatre) SummerWorks Review 2017

Christopher Ross-Ewart’s show Explosions for the 21st Century isn’t just something to go see, it’s something to hear. It’s being put on at The Theatre Centre Incubator as part of SummerWorks 2017 And I really recommend you give it a watch and a listen.

Ross-Ewart is a sound designer, and among many other things this show is an ode to his passion for the craft. He gives off the air of a dorky tech-guy that’s been put up in front of an audience. He opens by cracking nervous jokes and then starts monologuing while using his soundboard as an aid. Almost immediately, you’ll realize that not only is Ross-Ewart very funny, he has a lot to say

Explosions for the 21st Century is probably the most unique show that I’ve had the pleasure to stumble across in quite some time. It’s hardly a visual show, instead focusing on sound. You’ll learn a lot from Ross-Ewart as he’s an experienced sound designer and actually studied at the Yale School for Drama.

Ross-Ewart throws in a lot of interesting anecdotes and sound observations over the course of the show. As you laugh through his wisecracking, you’ll also be learning a ton about frequencies and sound-mixing among other things. More important though is the way that he teaches you to appreciate sound. I think Explosions for the 21st Century helped me be more mindful of the things I hear around me, because even today as I’m writing this I find that I’m more aware of the birds chirping outside my window.

Of equal importance are the poignant observations Ross-Ewart makes. He relates social issues to his understanding of sound and his perspective is both wholly unique and really enlightening.

One small thing I noticed is that the Theatre Centre’s incubator space is set up for a show in the round. Not knowing what I was in for, I wound up seated along one of the edges (sometimes I just like to switch things up). Obviously I enjoyed the show, but it wasn’t ideal for this kind of seating arrangement. I feel like I’d want to be in between the two speakers to fully appreciate this.

Overall, I truly recommend this show. As someone that’s dealt with plenty of actors, it’s fun to see a sound-guy front and centre creating such a unique and fascinating experience. Explosions for the 21st Century was a real treat, and I hope you get a chance to hear it.


Explosions for the 21st Century plays at the The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West, enter down the ramp at the side of the building).

Remaining performances:

  • Saturday August 5th, 4:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Sunday August 6th, 9:45pm – 10:45pm
  • Tuesday August 8th, 5:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Wednesday August 9th, 9:30pm – 10:30pm
  • Friday August 11th, 7:45pm – 8:45pm
  • Saturday August 12th, 4:45pm – 5:45pm

SummerWorks tickets are now Pay What You Decide at $15, $25, or $35, whichever suits your budget. All tickets are general admission and there are no limits to any price level. Tickets are available at the performance venue (cash only), online and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 1-13 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 7 shows.

Audience Advisory: Be advised that this show contains mature themes.

Image of Chris Ross-Ewart by Wald Woyno.