Just Watch Me: A Time Travelling Trudeau Musical is an ambitious undertaking. An original musical that attempts to combine a history lesson with a love story, it is the love story that ultimately wins out.
Taking the Back to the Future concept and combining it with a little Dr Who (yes, there is a TARDIS), young May Lee, played with a nice innocence and some equally nice vocals by Avy Crowchild, is sent back to 1970 just as Pierre Elliott Trudeau institutes the War Measures Act during the FLQ Crisis. Finding herself falling in love with a young student of the time, played by a dashing Luis Guerra, she finds herself in the midst of one of our nation’s darkest moments.
Problem is, Just Watch Me becomes overly ambitious as it attempts to meld the history lesson with the love story, and loses its focus. Songs about Peace River Country, the decision to be a teacher and bits about the future of computers are interspersed with the more political, including a surprisingly memorable title song, which nails Trudeau’s arrogance of the time. Writer Daniel K McLeod even attempts to bring things full circle as May returns to present day with references to Bill C-51, but it too gets lost in an ending that borrows heavily from The Wizard of Oz.
The small onstage orchestra does good work with some great tunes arranged by Jennifer Charters, Brendan Steele and Daniel McLeod.
There is something here with its time travelling love story; as political satire though it misses the mark.
Just Watch Me: A Time Travelling Trudeau Musical created and directed by Daniel McLeod. Playing as part of the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival at Pacific Theatre 1440 West 12th Ave, Vancouver) until September 20. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.