Sapunov’s first show

Imaginary Theatre Company’s first production brings a quirky and heartwarming musical to the Vogt Studio

In The Ballad of Valentin Sapunov
Image by: Nicolaas Smith
In The Ballad of Valentin Sapunov

Who doesn’t love it when the geek gets the girl?

For such an awkward individual, Valentin Sapunov seems to get all the attention.

Brand new group Imaginary Theatre Company presents the original musical The Ballad of Valentin Sapunov as its first production.

The musical follows kind, quirky scientist Valentin, played by Chris Wiens, and his heartwarming story as he finds his self-confidence.

Conflict arises when a fellow colleague, Natalya attempts to steal Valentin’s research grant given to him by the university he works at. Throughout the play, Valentin becomes a new man and fights for himself, his family and even falls in love.

The musical has an eccentric and unpredictable tone, reflected in the lead character’s costume, personality and entertaining Russian accent. Valentin’s sloppily tucked-in shirt and borderline electrified hair helped to create the perfect picture of a true geek.

Characters like Valentin, and his friends Bjorn and Erik, played by Patrick Jang and Rahul Arora, become zanier by the minute.

The plot progressed smoothly, despite a minor side plot and an undeserving fate for the antagonist during the show.

The stage, usually set with minimal props that seemed bare at times, was recovered by the caricatured attitude of each actor. The props used were intended mostly as the punch line of a joke, which added to the clumsy, yet charming nature of the musical.

At the beginning of the play, socially awkward and shy Valentin was often alienated from conversation and placed on the neglected side of the stage.

But as the musical progressed, Valentin becomes emotionally closer with his fellow characters and the audience as well.

Although the vocal and piano music in the production was timely, the accompaniment had room to be bigger to match the odd personalities on stage. Still, the lyrics were wacky, and reflected the personality of the characters well.

This bumbling applies to Valentin, but fails to stick to Natalya in a scene where she almost raps. The frantic fragment in this song contradicts her otherwise belligerent personality in the rest of the play.

The environment in the Vogt Studio space was colourful and the music had quirky lyrics to match the well-projected voices of the actors. The Ballad of Valentin Sapunov is a charming play about the triumph of the underdog.

The Imaginary Theatre Company presents The Ballad of Valentin Sapunov in the Vogt Studio tonight and tomorrow night at 8 p.m.


Imaginary Theatre Company, Play review, The Ballad of Valentin Sapunov

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