Get ready for a tragic roller-coaster ride of laughs and music with Atomic Vaudeville, as the local company makes its debut on the Belfry Theatre stage with its award-winning musical, Ride The Cyclone, July 5 to 17.
It’s been two years since Ride the Cyclone was mounted in Victoria, and this time it will be bigger and brighter with a sturdy set fit for touring and new props, including a laser.
“We rented a laser machine for Ricky Potts’, song, ‘Space Aged Bachelor Man’ because it takes place in outer space with cats. It’s a very B-moviesque vision of outer space,” says Britt Small, who is directing the play alongside writer and Atomic Vaudeville co-founder, Jacob Richmond.
This Legoland sequel, also written by Richmond, features classmates of Penny and Ezra from Uranium, Sask. The six victims of a tragic roller coaster accident are a touring chamber choir, who are each given one final chance to perform their last hurrah by mechanized fortune-telling machine, Karnack. What ensues is a hilarious 80 minutes of assorted personalities and musical genres, with each student given the chance to both express their individuality and their dismay, coming to terms with their untimely deaths.
This character-driven play portrays a wide array of personalities we all know, including the girl next door, the immigrant, the only openly gay kid and the dreamer, and features songs ranging from broadway, to rock ‘n’ roll, spooky swing, classical and rap.
Having the opportunity to mount the play at the Belfry before taking off on tour has given Atomic Vaudeville a chance to work out some kinks and get the show to its fighting weight, says Small.
“We normally rehearse in our own studio, which is also an apartment,” says Small. “Being here at the Belfry, we have a dedicated rehearsal space, there’s a scene shop, so our set is being redone with stronger materials, we have a week of tech time . . . and when it’s a musical, there’s a lot of things to consider, like sound levels and lighting levels, so having the time to play with different looks is invaluable.”
Written by Richmond, with lyrics and music by he and Brooke Maxwell, Ride The Cyclone won Toronto’s SummerWorks Prize for Best Production and the Now Magazine Audience Choice Award last summer. The Belfry run will kick off a fall tour to Vancouver, Whitehorse and a return to Toronto where they’ll do a four-week run at Theatre Passe Muraillen — the same theatre they performed in at SummerWorks, but this time they won’t have to set up and strike the set everyday.
“When we performed at the SummerWorks Festival, we were in Theatre Passe Muraille, which is a beautiful theatre, but the difference here is the amount of tech time. We had to set up our set in 15 minutes and strike it everyday. We had to choreograph setting it up,” says Small. It will be the first tour Atomic Vaudeville has produced in their eight-year history.
“The Belfry have been great mentors for us, especially preparing the show for the tour and helping build the set,” says Small.
Choreographed by Treena Stubel with costumes by Ingrid Hansen, lighting by Michael Franzmann and set design by Hank Pine and James Insell, Ride The Cyclone features an all-star cast of local favourites including Rielle Braid, Matthew Coulson, Kelly Hudson, Elliot Loran, Sarah Jane Pelzer, Kholby Wardell and Alex Wlasenko. M
Ride The Cyclone
Belfry Theatre (1291 Gladstone)
Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm
Saturday at 4pm
Sunday at 2pm
Tickets: $20 or $25
high school students are half price,
university and college students save 25 per cent.
Call 250-385-6815 or