Legend Has It – Review

Legend Has It-

L to R Renee Amber, Jamie Northan, -Audience Hero- Mark Meer. Photo Brian Harder.

Legend Has It

March 6 – April 5, 2014

Martha Cohen Theatre

http://www.atplive.com/2013-2014-Season/Legend/index.html

Listen to my review from CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener at 

http://www.cbc.ca/eyeopener/columnists/theatre/2014/03/17/legend-has-it-review/

RATING

For Fantasy Story Lovers – All the elements you love in these kind of adventure stories are present. Mythical land? Check. Evil Lord? Check. Adorable innocent good guys? Check. Now just add in a large dollop of humour, great costumes and an experience that’s  different every night and your fabulous geek meters will blow off the scales. SEE IT

For Fantasy Story Haters – You don’t need to love Lord of the Rings et al to enjoy this show. The fantasy world simply kicks natural laws to the curb making it possible for the improvisers to explore all sorts of scenarios. Besides, you’ll be laughing too hard to remember that Evil Lords, Trolls and Elf-like creatures are eye-roll worthy. SEE IT

For occasional theatre goers – There was a distinctly younger crowd at this show. Lots of teens either with their parents or in packs and they were having the time of their lives. I sat in front of a group of 13-year-old girls who literally SQUEALED with laughter the entire show. Not that Legend Has It is only for teens. This is a smart, innocent fun, totally unique night in the theatre that can be enjoyed by anyone open to something different. SEE IT

For theatre junkies – Yes Northan and her cast are incredibly talented comedic  improvisers, but more importantly this is a show that gleefully pushes boundaries of what theatre can be. Do we want all our theatre to be like this? No. But how refreshing and exciting  to see something unique. When the show tours to great success (which I have no doubt it will) you can say you saw it here first. SEE IT

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2 comments

  1. Eliz · March 20, 2014

    Thank you for your review, which convinced my husband and myself to go to this show.

    However, your review implies that this kind of show is groundbreaking. I have seen this type of show for years when I lived out east.

    At Renaissance festivals, it is a common device with certain companies to put on a play where 2 to 4 audience members are picked to come onto the stage. They are given a few props and costume pieces and are incorporated into the cast of improvisational actors, with entertaining results. The story is also the same, a quest to defeat an evil something or other to save an innocent so-n-so. These plays usually last about 40 minutes. Ms. Northan’s version is a longer, more elaborate production, incorporating decisions and “truth”s into the story, but it is still very very similar.

    I can see now the advantage of having more than one audience member on stage, in case one of them is a little reticent. On the night we went, the person had a hard time making decisions, speaking up, coming up with “truth”s, doing specific actions. It was uncomfortable at times. I know its definitely more entertaining when the “guest” is willing to take some risks and get more involved, providing the cast more to play off of.

    I think this is a great family show, and I feel bad we didn’t take our daughter. If we don’t make it back to this play, we’ll definitely have to hit a Renaissance festival again when we go back east this summer and see this kind of play again.

    • Jessica Goldman · March 20, 2014

      Hello fellow Easterner! Thanks for your comments. I in no way meant to suggest that Legend Had It was earth shatteringly ground-breaking, rather I was suggesting that it was refreshing and exciting to see something that pushed the boundaries of what traditional theatre is. I too have seen audience participatory theatre (including Rebecca’s previous work with Blind Date) although I can’t claim to have ever attended a Renaissance Festival. Given what you say, perhaps I should put it on my list.
      Regarding a meek ‘guest’ and how that affects the show. ..My feeling is this, if a less than stellar guest is chosen, then this is the fault of the actors who A. should have chosen better and B. should have handled the situation better on the stage. If the cast didn’t do this in your production then that’s on them. I suppose just like any cast can have an off night, the same is true in this production. However I’m glad to hear that you still enjoyed the show and even more glad that you took the time to send me your thoughts. Always encouraged and appreciated!

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