The Show Must Go On: And on and on....but not for children

The Show Must Go On
Venue 7 - The Playground
Random Samples Collective
Victoria, BC
Written by Jeff Leard
Featuring: Jeff Leard
Warnings: Coarse Language
Continuing its run Tues., June 11 - 9:00 p.m., Wed., June 12 - 7:00 p.m., Thurs., June 13 - 9:00 p.m., Fri., June 14 - 7:00 p.m., Sat., June 15 - 9:00 p.m., Sun., June 16 - 2:00 p.m.
Approximate running time: 60 min

Jeff Leard’s The Show Must Go On is a one man show about a group of three children’s performers on the road across Canada trying to complete their quest for the perfect season. As an actor myself I thought I’d like the show, thinking I could sympathize with the trials and tribulations of an artist just trying to make a living. Unfortunately, the story seemed a mash-up of barely funny anecdotes about how terrible it is being a children’s performer. There were some funny moments, one anecdote in particular about an elementary teacher with a Rumpelstiltskin fetish had me chuckling but for the most part I was checking my watch.

Jeff gives it his best go with a number of voices and sound effects – though most of the sound effects started to sound the same after a while, regardless of what they were for – and his commitment to every detail of his story whether told or shown is impressive considering his small house of seven last night at The Playground. My biggest quip with the performance is the tone in which it was delivered. I don’t doubt for a second that Jeff really was a children’s performer because he told his stories in the tone of voice reserved for school children and pets. Instead of speaking to us and bring us along on this journey across the Canadian country side he delivered his lines down to us. It was hard not to tune him out like I did my third grade teacher.

In the end I felt rather pessimistic about my chosen artistic career as an actor. Despite the show ending with Jeff telling his listeners that it was all worth it at the end of the journey, his performance here did little to convince me after the fifty-five minutes spent on horror stories from the stage. Even after all this Jeff is a likable performer and his show is an admirable collection of stories that are charmingly and unapologetically Canadian.

This is not a children’s show, with course language and some mature content, though it is about children’s shows. It didn’t hold my attention for an hour but to his credit there were some funny moments.

  /  4

Ryan Cole is a local actor, director and founding member of Richmond and Tower Productions.