A word of caution: it's far too easy to end up feeling like a fangirl/boy over Impulse Theatre's newest production, Boygroove. Deliciously cheesy though they may be, the boys' campy dance moves and catchy singles (“You Make My Hips Buck,” “Pushin' & Rockin'”) will get in your head and stay there.
Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that Boygroove is an exercise in nostalgia. No matter your age, chances are good that there's an era of your youth set to a soundtrack of fluffy pop music (whether or not this was of your own choosing).
Boygroove tells the story of the rise and inevitable fall of the eponymous boyband, starting with the audition that brings the four guys together: there's Jon (Byron Martin), the muscular angry one, Lance (Eric Wigston), the talented closeted one, Andrew (Mathew Bittroff), the sensitive humanitarian, and Kevin (Timothy Cooper), the financially-motivated ringleader.
The show has been significantly altered from its debut on the Fringe circuit in 2002. Renowned Edmonton playwright Chris Craddock updated his script with various pop culture references that date within the last six or so years, while Aaron Macri revised the music to better fit a 21st-century setting.
It's a lot of fun. In between all the crooning and gyrating there's plenty of Craddock's classic witty banter. The boys' rendition of crass hip hop artist and arch nemesis Hypetastic is particularly hilarious. Boygroove's shortcoming, if indeed it can even be considered as such, lies within the subject itself: this is a shallow tale of the empty lives of vapid people. The audience is invested in the characters only insofar as they are able to ruefully admit their own predilection for such shallowness. And while Craddock's script is unashamedly mocking as it presents a neat deconstruction of the manufactured nature of pop music (“some art is shallow”), it also uses these big issues as style rather than substance.
Critical analysis aside, one thing is for certain: in knowing that Boygroove is an hour-long romp of parodied boyband music, you already know whether you'll love it or hate it. V
Until Sat, Apr 30 (7:30 pm)
Matinees Sat, Apr 23 & Sun, Apr 24 (2 pm)
written by Chris Craddock
directed by Trevor Schmidt
starring Timothy Cooper, Mathew Bittroff, Eric Wigston, Byron Martin
Catalyst Theatre (8529 Gateway Boulevard), $15 – $20