Soberingly splendid, smashingly sloshed

This fall’s production of Queen’s Players transports attendees, drunk or sober, to a land where Oprah reigns supreme

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The cast are a dynamic bunch whose attention to detail and undying energy lent well to their multiple roles, like Daniel Karp’s Antoine Dodson.
The cast are a dynamic bunch whose attention to detail and undying energy lent well to their multiple roles, like Daniel Karp’s Antoine Dodson.
Photo: 
Photo: 

Sober Review

When I walked into Time to Laugh Wednesday night to soberly review the fall production of Queen’s Players, I’ll admit I had a small twang of jealously for my not-so-sober accompanying coworkers. After all, it wasn’t my first time and The Queen’s Players I know and love have left me practically crawling home in the past.

Any envy I had was short-lived. By the time the lights dimmed and the opening video montage projected onto the screen in front of me I was enthralled and instantly forgot I was the odd one out—even as Players President Sean Sommerville graciously passed beer after beer to my drunk-reviewing counterpart.

For those who haven’t had the Players experience, the sketch comedy, musical menagerie draws characters from pop culture and contextualizes them in a highly hilarious, usually ultra-sexual Queen’s context with all proceeds going to charity. Beer flowing onstage and off tests the limits and tolerance of actors, musicians and audience members alike.

This year’s entirely student run and acted 2012: The Oprah-calypse stays true to its roots. The show doesn’t have an overall narrative, but rather the sketches, songs and characters fall under the pretense of the looming apocalypse and Oprah’s subsequent efforts to save the world with a trusty team of celebrities. With zombies, vampires and a fear of pandemics dominating film, television and books as of late, the theme is apropos and offers many opportunities for humor and social critique, which the cast took full advantage of.

Directed by Logan Richard and Ronan Powell and produced by Alex McConnell, the show features characters from all walks of Hollywood life embodied by both returning Players vets and fresh-faced rookies.

While sober, I found it easy to follow the insightful sketches and got the added bonus of picking up on the production’s attention to detail like the unified back-up singers/dancers gyrating to each actor’s solo song—the titles of which I’ll leave for attendees to be pleasantly surprised by. Rather than detracting from front and centre performers, head choreographer Veronica Bart’s moves only accentuated them further.

The many highlights of the show crystallize the cast’s hard work. Tia McGregor has mastered the perfect trademark twang as Oprah and Demetri Koutsaris’ sharp attitude and swagger allowed him to own even the raunchiest of lines as dynamo Ari Gold. Impressions like Devon O’Rielly’s bawdy Betty White, Alyssa LeClair’s weathered PowerPuff girl and Justin Giannoccaro’s hormonal Harry Potter had the crowd crying with laughter.

After an intermission and short chug-off (which my colleague dominated, I might add), the debauchery level noticeably increased. As one character put it, “It’s the end of the world, we should be fucking hammered, right?” It was tolerable sober though and I found my only qualms throughout the evening to be with fellow audience members for their screeching enthusiasm which occasionally led to my inability to hear the show—but who’s to blame them. Noise aside, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

Without a doubt the music sealed the deal for me this year. Music directors Matt Aylsworth and Ian Eatock with band members Becky Stewart, Jordan Mark, Peter Low, Ian Pritchard and Kevin McHale comprised an insanely tight band and the work of vocal director Fletcher Planert was clear in each actor’s solo. The band’s accompaniment was something I hadn’t noticed the magnitude of in my previous inebriated screenings of the show and their sync and chemistry with the cast was undeniable.

Players shouldn’t be viewed as a traditional or typical piece of theatre, why would it? That’s simply not the point. The lack of overall narrative works to the show’s advantage, as its unlikely the audience could follow through their ever-building excitement and blood-alcohol levels anyway.

Last year I hazily woke up the morning after Players with mixed feelings of euphoria, dance-induced pain and the assurance I had a great time, this year the only difference was the memories I had to prove it.

Ally Hall

Drunk Review

Wet dicks, dicks in mouths, dancing dicks and ejaculations … a whole lot of dicks is pretty much all I remember from last night’s Queen’s Player’s show, 2012: The Oprah-Calypse. Maybe that’s why my shoes were sticking to the floor.

Sean Sommerville, the President of the Queen’s Players and the poor guy who had to deal with constantly re-filling my cup all night, did his job a little too well, leaving me with an unpleasant morning having to listen to my recorded notes consisting of incoherent ramblings from last night.

In my blurry state I genuinely had no idea what was going on in the play, so I was constantly asking people. I was incredibly confused as to who the character Blossom was, last night I was convinced she’s from American Dad, but was later enlightened that she was a PowerPuff girl. What can I say? I only watch quality television like Vampire Diaries.

What I did get from the show was that we went through some sort of time machine to get to 2012 and apparently Oprah is saving the world from an apocalypse … I guess she succeeded Obama as President. However, there was a serious lack of saving the world and just a whole lot of singing and dancing. I didn’t know many of the songs because as I repeated over and over last night, I’m not very cool. But, I do know “Fuck You,” the Cee Lo Green hit, that was passionately sung by Demetri Koutsaris as Ari Gold or Ariel as I affectionately called him all night. As an extremely angry drunk this song got me to my feet to express my feelings, which mostly consisted of my undying love for the red-headed player who was super cute—and I don’t even like redheads.

Most of my thoughts during the night consisted of complaining about fashion faux-pas. Wearing running shoes with a toga is totally historically inaccurate. Oprah has like a bazillion dollars and she’s wearing a boring blazer and a white dress—she can do better. You can’t wear leggings as pants because as I strongly proclaimed in my notes, “leggings aren’t pants!”

Other than those few tiny clothing complaints, I freaking loved the show because honestly who doesn’t love a show that has a drinking song and chugging contests on stage, with someone’s dad. I don’t know whose dad, but good for him for taking on kids half his age in a drinking contest. I was incredibly impressed that they were able to transport Principal Woolf back from India (not Israel for those who confuse their “I” countries like me) for the night to be a part of Oprah’s super power team because if Woolf can fix the University’s financial woes, he can save the world from an apocalypse with his eyes closed.

I learned a lot of valuable things from the show, like Justin Bieber is a lesbian, so he is still causing the world to have one less lonely girl. That underneath Harry Potter’s robe he is getting a lot of extra-curricular activities from Ginny. Also that Batman is dead. Now the world must be saved by Robin clad in really tight green tights.

As this was my first Players experience I had no expectations going in and I really had no idea what the hell was going on, but it was a lot of fun. I got to drunkenly sway to the music, watch a guitar player strip down to his boxers and drink a whole lot on Wednesday night in the middle of essay season … worth it!

Alyssa Ashton

2012: The Oprah-calypse runs tonight and tomorrow at Time to Laugh at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13.

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