Queen’s Players maintains legacy nearly forty years later

Student sketch comedy troupe draws crowd

Queen's Players at The Mansion on Nov. 6.
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Imagine spending your Wednesday night drunkenly singing along to Lizzo and watching impersonations of the likes of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Bernie Sanders. Now imagine it happening in a crowded bar full of your peers. That’s what Queen’s Players offers their fans.

On Nov. 6 at 8 p.m., Queen’s students flooded The Mansion to watch the Players debut their annual show, performing until Nov. 16

Since the 1980s, this group of intoxicated students—yes, the actors perform drunk—have taken The Mansion by storm for a series of evenings featuring sexual innuendos and raunchy jokes. It’s a good thing, too, that the crowd is drinking, because the show’s content is so inappropriate, it might be too awkward to enjoy sober.

This year was no different. As the show mixed politics and pop culture, they showcased a variety of characters, ranging from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Coach Steve from Netflix’s Big Mouth.

The show was narrated by a player acting as Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa. The premise—which was loose at best­­––was that the vast array of characters had died and gone to heaven. The twist, however, was that they were actually in hell.

Anyone who’s attended the show before knows that nobody goes for the plot. They come for the party-like atmosphere that’s so deeply ingrained in Queen’s Players’ reputation. The show’s foundation relies on interaction between audience and performers.

When the performers get confused or mess up their lines, it doesn’t matter, because there’s no plot cohesion to begin with. Audience members are prompted to heckle the actors when they mess up a line, rush the stage when songs start to play, and buy their favourite performers drinks. This means that as the audience gets drunker, so do the Players.

Here lies the magic of the show: as the jokes get looser, so does the audience. The lack of cohesion in the jokes and plotline doesn’t matter at all.

But that’s not to say the actors don’t hold their own on stage. Their strong performances, dedication, and spot-on impressions are what make the show so memorable. 

One standout performance of the night was Ryan Cormack’s impersonation of Stefon from SNL. Cormcak managed to mimic Bill Hader’s voice and actions to perfection. It didn’t hurt that the role lends itself well to character breaks, something Hader is known to do often when in character.

The only time Cormack broke character was when he left the stage, then returned without his shirt on—but he wasn’t alone in that surprise. Almost half the cast lost their shirts (along with their wigs) at some point during the night.  

While the crowd slowly shrunk and those remaining tired themselves out, the Queen’s troupe played on.

They showcased their talents in a variety of songs such as “Life is a Highway” and Hannah Montana’s “Rockstar.” The actors and the audience members alike seemed desperate to lose their voices as they screamed along to the band’s rendition of these popular tunes.  

The night closed with a rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” leading the student audience out into the dark streets and straight to Little Caesars, knowing full well that few of them would make their 8:30 a.m. classes the next day.

 
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