by Lynn on February 8, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

At Factory Theatre, Mainspace, Toronto, Ont.

Created by Alan Kliffer
Written by nobody.
Directed by Melody Johnson
Musical Director, Jordan Armstrong
Orchestra: Jordan Armstrong
David Stein
Ewan Divitt
Jake Koffman
Justin Han
Set by Brandon Kleiman
Sound by Jason Cabanaw
Lighting by Josh Hoodless
Composed/arranged by James Smith
Cast: Ashley Botting
Jan Caruana
Tyler Check
Miriam Drysdale
Carly Heffernan
Reid Janisse
Ron Pederson
Alex Tindel
Kevin Vidal

Smart, funny, seat of the pants creative and the cast works gloriously together to produce a tight, bright show you will never see.

Note: Because this opened on Jan. 28 when I was in England, I only got to see this on the matinee on Feb. 6.

Comment etc. Except for the first song, the entire show of >One Night Only: The Greatest Musical Never Written is improvised. Totally. Completely. The first song says that the whole thing is improvised and that the story ideas come from the audience. The company of six performers will ask three questions which will set up the story and its performance. A spot light lights a person in the audience to answer a question. The locations of the spot lightings are set. I figured that out when three people were asked by an usher to move from the first row, back three rows to three seats at the end of the row where no one was sitting before their move. The three questions were: What historical event affected you the most? What is your ideal job? Where does this story take place?

A man in my row towards the other side said that the assassination of JFK affected him greatly, although he could not remember where he was when he heard the news. A woman at the end of my row (one of the people who moved) said that her ideal job was a panda bear hugger. Another spot light shone on a person along my row and he said that the story took place in a detention room in a high school. And then the cast of six were off and running. They did not huddle and confer on any skits. They just went for it.

The story was complex, convoluted, involved all the elements of the three suggestions and then some, involved many and various songs that were made up on the spot with a basic musical background and then after about two hours, and one intermission the story-lines were tied up nicely.

The enterprise is directed by the gifted Melody Johnson. She and the cast have a general idea of the kind of songs to be created—patter, love-song, 11 O’clock song etc. and she knows how to stage them to accommodate every eventuality.

Because the cast are all immersed in the world of improvisation they just know in their bones how to take an idea with a partner and go with it. By the same token the group knows how to let one of their own fly with an idea and then when to come in for group involvement. This is a wonderful, funny cast who sing up a storm.

The idea came from Alan Kliffer. I shake my head in disbelief and total delight.

Golden Ages Productions Presents:

Opened: Jan. 28, 2016.
Closes: Feb. 14, 2016.
Cast: 6; 3 men, 3 women
Running Time: 2 hours approx.

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