ITSAZOO Productions and Enlightenment

Bridge Mix 2011

Dates and Venue 8 June – 25 June 2011, 8pm | Metro Parkade, 1070 W Pender St.

Reviewer Melanie Ewan

Bridge Mix is a theatrical production set in urban Vancouver, which brings together nine theatre companies in an effort to bridge the gap between communities and create lasting partnerships. After my evening spent in the Metro Parkade I have to say that, in spite of funding cut backs and a recycled venue, they not only seem to have successfully achieved this goal, but have also created a truly unique Vancouver arts experience.

From the hustle and bustle of Pender Street I was ushered to the sixth floor of the parkade where I was introduced to my fellow theater goers and the popular roving bar, which is a one man bar on wheels who follows the audience around as they make their way up the ramps of the garage.

The first skit of the night, Catch 22, set the tone for the evening. It was quick, only ten minutes in length, and had a very amusing edge to it. The actors, who were escaped convicts, deliberately incorporated the parkade environment in to their performance, which I soon learned was a unifying trend throughout the evening.

From here we were guided by a loitering zombie to the next performance, Zom Rom Com, which tells the story of an unlikely romance unfolding amidst the scene of a zombie war. This was one of my favourites as it was oddly believable in its absurdity.

Another favourite was Parked: An Indie Rock Musical with Novelty Instruments. The clever lyrics utilized in the songs of this skit capture to a tee the moans, groans and illusory intrigue of office life.

This was followed up by Tigermilk Collective’s satirical addition, which comprised a documentary style petition against the tearing down of the very parkade that we were standing in, and Slam Ink’s Completely Centered, featuring an over the top lovers feud.

Exhibit A parted from the trend of the previous skits as it focused on a real life incident; that of a high profile murder that had occurred in 2010. The style of theater, “verbatim theater”, had the actors speaking and moving in unison, switching between throwing thoughts at the audience and acting out sections of the transcripts of the trial. This thought provoking performance focused on the hardship of dealing with members of society who have no empathy.

Gang! Bang! featuring a raucous gang of women, quickly shifted the mood once more as its cast hollered at and stole from their audience. Something (it’s not entirely clear what) quickly goes wrong within the gang, leading to a gut wrenching scissor battle not easily forgotten.

Lifeline, a one man act, featured a man on the brink of death searching for some semblance of peace. The performance allows the audience a first person glimpse in to the mind of this man as the minutes tick by. Despite this seemingly upsetting material, it is actually a humourous skit.

Last, but certainly not least, was the lively Geronimo. This one features a pseudo S.W.A.T. team; jumping, yelling and fighting, as they take down their target in the midst of the audience.

Despite its comedic moments, Bridge Mix has a dark edge to it as it uncovers the twisted underbelly of society. While this edge cannot escape you, it also does not dampen the mood of the evening, especially considering the rooftop music party following the show. Bridge Mix is not what I’d call a mainstream production, but it does award its audience with an interesting theatrical experience within the urban scenery of Vancouver.

© 2011 Melanie Ewan