Fringe review: Legoland

Rachel Bowron and Jenny McKillop in Legoland. Photo by Ryan Parker.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

Legoland (Stage 36, L’UniThéâtre)

In this oddball, highly entertaining comedy by Victoria’s Jacob Richmond  — which predates another oddball, highly entertaining Richmond, Ride The Cyclone — we meet the Lambs, two precocious home-schooled siblings from the Elysium Community Farm near Uranium City, Sask.

Penny Lamb, 15, is the beaming, emotional, beaming hyperactive one (Jenny McKillop). Her 13-year-old bro (Rachel Bowron), has a unnervingly intense demeanor and a penchant for puppet shows exploring German nihilism. They’re onstage, and we’re in the audience, because by the terms of their 200 hours of community service arrangement, they’re making a presentation.

Legoland is all about performance, both in premise and execution, in Luc Tellier’s bright, vaudevillian production. It’s self-consciously quirky that way. The resourceful Ezra, who’s the sound technician, art director, props runner, stage manager, and annotator has fashioned a make-shift theatre. Penny starts by explaining — “let me whisk you away to happier times!” — that Elysium is the kind of hippie grow-op haven of enlightenment where everyone comes first in humanistic talent shows and “the kids are all named Rainbow, Sunshine, Trotsky.”

Their odyssey through Legoland, the land beyond Elysium, is an escape from the St. Cassian Catholic boarding school regimen to which the Lambs were consigned after their parents got busted for cultivation and trafficking. And this journey through the Walmarts and McDonalds south of the border — the “land of silicone breasts and fundamentalists” as Ezra puts it — is fuelled by his “drug money,” i.e. sales of his Ritalin and Dexedrine supply.

The goal? the re-enlightenment of a boy band pop star Penny adores, who’s turned to gangsta rap thuggery.

The play has sassy fun mocking pop culture, new age-y clichés, consumerism, as well as putting the adult voice — grave in the case of Ezra and breezy from Penny —  in the mouths of babes. It’s satire, but of the quirky-playful not the withering kind.

The performances are a hoot. McKillop turns in a sweetly addled performance as Penny, the “aspiring animal conservationist” who smiles in a conciliatory, indulgent way over the excesses around her. Bowron is hysterical as the gloomy but wired Ezra, whose cultural and political references are all apocalyptically bleak. He has much to work with in the new America. 

Hanging out with the Lambs for an hour is, well, inspirational. 

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