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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Theatre review: Revolutions is revolutionary

While reviewing a show at the end of its run definitely alleviates some of the pressure as a writer, it also means getting the word out, especially with something as daring and revolutionary as Fight With a Stick’s Revolutions, can be a missed opportunity. Not that this particular show needed much help in attracting an audience though, as it quickly sold out.

In Revolutions, much like shows from this company’s predecessor Leaky Heaven Circus, there is no clearly defined narrative.  Instead, what we see is up for personal interpretation.  Like the visual arts, or often with contemporary dance, Revolutions creates a tension that is simultaneously satisfying and unsatisfying, allowing viewers to take away individual impressions of what they just witnessed.

For me, Revolutions was akin to the aesthetics of a post-Monty Python Terry Gilliam film; while filled with the familiar, things are presented with a magic realism that was at times both disorienting, and exhilarating. Commenting on magic realism, Gilliam once said it is about “about expanding how you see the world.” Revolutions does the same, and even feeds from Gilliam’s additional recurring themes of identity and sanity.

While largely enigmatic, Revolutions is a feast of sights and sounds. Jay White’s set is a marvel, while Josh Hite’s video and Kyla Gardiner’s lighting add layers of complexity. Nancy Tam’s sound design though is the big winner here, effectively putting you inside the action, both in the show’s more intimate moments as much as in its more frenetic bursts.

Revolutions is a trip, sometimes quite literally. It is revolutionary in its design and in its ability to evoke both a personal and emotional connection. While there are no further performances scheduled, given its success, there is always hope that Fight With a Stick will remount it.

Revolutions, created in collaboration by Jay White, Josh Hite, Nancy Tam, Kyla Gardiner, Sean Marshall Jr., Delia Brett, Lara Abadir, Paul Viitanen, and Carmine Santavenere. Co-directed by Steven Hill and Alex Lazaridis Ferguson. No further performances scheduled. Visit for more information.

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