Company: Theatre Howl, Saskatoon, SK
Genre: Musical Theatre
Venue: 13 - Asper Centre for Theatre and Film (UofW)
By the time they’d reached the end of their 75-minute show, I was convinced Theatre Howl have one of the best shows at the festival on their hands.
Sometimes when I'm at a show that has an intermission, I'm asked what I think of the show. "Ask me at the end" is always my response.
Shows like Matchstick
are the reason.
Although it doesn't have an intermission, if you'd asked me halfway through this two-person musical what I thought of it, I'd say it was decently performed, but not likely to stick with me.
By the time they'd reached the end of their 75-minute show, I was convinced Theatre Howl have one of the best shows at the festival on their hands.
The piece is a musical "not-very-fairytale" about a girl named Matchstick (Lauren Holfeuer), who grows up orphaned and unloved in an "undesirable country" (read: the Soviet Union). But a man (writer Nathan Howe) arrives from "the land of opportunity and freedom" and charms her sufficiently to take her back to his homeland. But her Prince Charming soon turns out to be anything but.
Holfeuer turns in an outstanding performance in the title role. And the folk music soundtrack performed live by the duo is ear-pleasing and catchy - both have wonderful voices. The lyrics, though, are as pitch black as the story that unfolds here. And the greatest challenge with Matchstick
is sticking with it through its bleakness.
But oh, that patience is rewarded with an ending that is surprising (how surprising will depend on the depth of your knowledge of American history, but I'll leave it at that), profoundly moving, and resonant.Matchstick