The Canada Show: The Complete History of Canada in One Hour!
• 4.5 stars out of 5
• Stage 2, Backstage Theatre
This high-energy romp through 20,000 years of Canadian history might not help you write a term paper, but it’s a lot more fun than watching 60 Heritage Minutes in a row.
Carly Pokoradi and Alex Gullason are the bubbly live-wires to Frankie Cottrell’s straight man as they present Canadian highlights from the time Napi created the Earth to the time of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The skits, jokes and songs come fast and furious.
Henry Hudson’s doomed last Arctic voyage is re-enacted by Mr. Dressup and his puppets Casey and Finnegan, conflicting versions of the Riel Rebellion play out as Western shootouts between Louis Riel and drunk Sir John A. Macdonald, and the First World War is outlined through interpretive dance.
Even those famous explorer-comics Cabot and Costello make an appearance. “Newfoundland!” “You found land?”
Prime Minister Mackenzie King allegedly decides against conscription in the Second World War after A Christmas Carol-like visit from a ghost, calling out the next morning for Tiny Tim Horton to go to the shop on the corner and buy the biggest doughnut he can find.
It isn’t all silly. The Vancouver-based trio touches on numerous still-painful issues such as the mistreatment of Aboriginal people, women’s rights and Quebec separatism, but while the topics are important the production is never stodgy or hectoring.
Anyway, you have to love a show where the fur trade is explained by a giant Justin Beaver.