By Rob Nunn
“The Toys are Back in Town” is the title of Suitcase in Point’s Holiday Cabaret. Suitcase in Point, in point of fact, are always already “back in town” because they’ve never left. The core of the company graduated from Brock University in 2001 and, rather than scattering to the four winds, they chose to stay and create theatre that speaks directly to our community. A few years ago Suitcase in Point created a play called The Garden City Project based on interviews with many local people around their thoughts about the downtown and around their visions of what it could be. It was a prophetic show because the theme that emerged was that culture could be the key to making the downtown the lively energetic attractive heart of the city. And now here we are in the midst of a cultural renaissance, with a sports complex and the Performing Arts Centre within sight of each other; restaurants and bars and shops galore: culture in all its glorious variety.
What is a cabaret? Deanna Jones, Artistic Director of Suitcase in Point, defines it at a tight comedy review with a satirical eye taking aim at pop culture, politics, local matters—and anything else that catches their eye and tickles their highly evolved funny bone.
Until last year the Merchant Ale House hosted almost all of Suitcase in Point’s cabarets. The stage was about the size of a postage stamp, the fans of the show squeezed in, a lucky few got to sit in the handful of chairs, and all that energy and all that laughter could scarcely be contained in such a small space. Then last holiday season, Suitcase in Point moved into Robertson Theatre, with the same kind of show, but with so much more room for the company to show their physical comedy chops, and with more technical resources for such things as short videos (at least a few of their videos have gone viral on Youtube).
What to expect from Suitcase in Point’s Holiday Cabaret? Given the theme of Christmas toys, expect the inanimate to come to life, like the outrageous sketch a few years back in which a large styrofoam Frosty the Snowman suddenly “began to dance around” until bumped off in a drive-by shooting incident perpetrated by War on Christmas militants… who were hunted down and brought to justice by a kick-ass team of reindeer— The R Team.
Above all, expect the unexpected.