Occupy The Man Cave: If you have the balls…

Occupy The Man Cave in London Fringe

Troupe Name: Theatre Provocateur
Troupe Origin: London, ON
Produced by Robin Rundle Drake
Written, directed and performed by:  Ruth Korchuk, Aleena Needham, Louise Pitre, Robin Rundle Drake, Toni Wilson
Warnings: Coarse language (un peu), and references to naughty bits
Audience: Mature Audience
Comedic Drama with a Twist
Venue: Spriet Theatre
Show Length:  50 min
Performances: Continuing Tues., June 11 - 6:00 p.m., Thurs., June 13 - 9:00 p.m., Sat., June 15 - 4:30 p.m.

It doesn’t matter what I say in this review – Occupy The Man Cave will have an audience. The well-attended Sunday performance (pre reviews) is proof of that.

Theatre Provocateur has some things going for them on the producer level that certainly help.

One is the title itself. There is no way that title prepares you for what you will experience but if it gets you in the door, I say mission accomplished.

Even when I had to get redirected to the correct venue (Spriet in Market) from the wrong site when I asked, “You mean that Cave Man show isn’t here?” (‘Me blond’  – how’s that for Man Cave talk? And I’m not dyslexic.)

The reason for the confusion is the power of words.  I only thought “Cave” and “Man” in that order period about this show and that’s all I thought it was about.

Who doesn’t want to see cave men and/or occupy their cave? Come on? Even for an hour?

Of course, I jest. I know many who live there – thanks, but no thanks. I’ve experienced enough cave men to last a life time.

And then even before the show starts, I note how interesting and surprising that the Sexual Assault Centre London is a supporter of this show – that that is plus factor # 2. The support and involvement of an organization that is very pro-activistism is a public endorsement and good for a few seats each night.

What I didn’t do is read the info prior such as Theatre Provocateur’s mission statement: “…to provide an audience experience that will both wildly entertain and provoke, shake up, tear down status quo and lead people to changing attitudes and behaviour.”

Being a Feminist with a capital F (as if there is anyone who reads my reviews/columns who doesn’t know that by now!?) I was intrigued for in short order the script informs one of its intent in a more aggressive way than does their mission statement.

Hmm. I think there is potential for a great show called Occupy The Man Cave. Let’s say five women portrayed how they perceived the Cave’s occupants to be. That would be very interesting.

What played out were too many themes, subjects, points. They might as well have had a target in a male form and just shot the figure for 50 minutes. Keeping the target but using more refined material would probably have been more successful.

Sitting at the back it was interesting watching the reactions. Men squirmed, a few women hooted and hollered in recognition of “bastard behaviour” but there were some women who look bewildered.

I was talking to a relatively younger male patron who saw the show who brought up an excellent point, “I’m in the theatre community in Vancouver. My wife and I just don’t see these examples in our world.” “Did your wife like it better than you?” I asked.  “A bit.”

I’m not surprised. I think your reaction to this show depends on where you are at in terms of The Man Cave. All the too-many points brought up in this show are important but for many of us at this point, you are preaching to believers – especially in a Fringe Festival.

Even so, there were things to like (the fun dance numbers were a highlight, costumes well thought out) and I certainly have sat through HOW MANY male-driven, one-sided perspectives in my life?!!

As one character says in this show, “The patriarchy has your balls!”

Maybe Theatre Provacteur knew exactly what they were doing. Regardless, I didn’t mind watching five women give us men the boot for a change.

/   4

Donald D’Haene is Online Theatre Editor for The Beat Magazine. Check beatmagazine.ca regularly for our coverage of London Fringe! And read my lastest DISH with a bunch of diva puppets here: https://thebeatmagazine.ca/index.php/dishing-with-donald/1671-an-x-rated-dish-with-avenue-q