Oh Manada! at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Oh Manada!

Upstairs at the Armoury (10310 85 avenue) August 13 (guest performance by Beau Creep), 15 – 17, 19, 21-23
More information: boylesqueto.com

BoylesqueTO. Photo credit: Ruth Gillson.

BoylesqueTO. Photo credit: Ruth Gillson.

An interview with James & the Giant Pasty. 

Describe your show in 5 words.

Patriotic Hilarious Sexy Male Striptease

Now that we’re intrigued, what’s the longer description?

BoylesqueTO is Canada’s premiere all-male burlesque troupe and Oh Manada! is our cheeky (pun intended) ode to Canadian culture and its men. We take all of your favourite Canadian icons–the mountie the lumberjack, the hockey player–and we strip them down to their BARE essentials and slather them with maple syrup for your viewing pleasure.

In your show, you portray Canadian icons. What is your favourite character to play?

I personally play the lumberjack character. He’s supposed to be a very masculine, macho, traditionally rugged character–something that’s never really resonated with me personally. So I take the hyper-masculine idea we have in our heads of what a lumberjack is supposed to be and I turn it upside down a bit, turn him into a little bit of a pin-up posing prancing lumberjack, but still with a little bit of macho attitude. It’s a delightful subversion of both Hyper-macho masculinity and the traditional idea we have of a lumberjack. It’s a fun chracter to play because of the hyper-macho expectations we have for it.

How do you choose what iconic Canadian figures to include in Oh Manada!?

We choose Canadian icons and figures that resonate with us and with the Canadian populace in general–things we grew up with and have nostalgia for–like the mountie or the lumberjack or the Tim Horton’s barista we see everyday. They’re universal recognized symbols for Canada that we all have a little bit of patriotism and nostalgia for. The delightful things for us is that we get to update these characters in way that’s adult, sexy, and oftentimes hilarious. We’re hoping that he you come to see our show you’ll never look at a mountie or a Tim Horton’s barista in quite the same way again.

BoylequeTO’s mission is to put male nudity back on the legitimate stage. What led you to recognize that gap and form the company?

I was always a big burlesque fan since I saw my first show on Coney Island when I was 15. I loved the openness about sexuality and the comfort in their bodies the performers displayed onstage. It was revolutionary for me as a 15 year old. And, of course I loved the humour, theatricality and storytelling all wrapped up in short 5 minute acts. But as I went to more and more shows over the years I noticed a lack of male bodies onstage. There was maybe 1 male burlesque performer for every 50 women i saw. In an art form that’s as much about the body and sexuality as burlesque is, it feels like you’re missing half the picture if you don’t have any men. That’s what lead me to the founding of BoylesqueTO.

Any other information you want people to know about the show?

This show is for men, women, straights, gays and everything in between. All genders and all sexualities. Straight men are often afraid of coming to our shows, but when they do come, they come up to me after and say, that so great, that was so entertaining. At the end of the day, each act is funny and wildly entertaining. It’s not just about the nudity. That’s the hook, for sure, but when you get past that you have some really well crafted dance and comedy pieces that everyone can enjoy.

Any names you want to drop of people who’ve been involved in your show? Other great shows to see?

Johnnie Walker and Morgan Norwich, who play our hosts Pierre and Maggie Trudeau, are both Edmonton Fringe veterans with past hits Red Headed Stepchild and Amusement. Jay Whitehead is an Alberta resident who now runs Theatre Outré a nd Club Didi in Lethbridge. And Beau Creep is a well known local burlesque performer who will be guest starring with us on our first night.

I’m looking forward to checking out Man Up – a show about men taking back the high heel.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca starting August 4.

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