Mo’Manada at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

BoylesqueTO in Mo'Manada. Photo credit: Greg Wong

BoylesqueTO in Mo’Manada. Photo credit: Greg Wong

Mo’Manada by BoylesqueTO
August 18 – 21, 23, 25, 26 at Venue 22: The Garneau Theatre

An interview with Benjamin Paley, who goes by the stage name James & the Giant Pasty.

Describe your show in one sentence.

Butts.  Butts.  Butts.  Oh wait, that was three sentences.  Darn!  How ’bout this: Canada’s Premiere All-Male Burlesque Troupe serves up patriotic Canadiana-themed striptease for your viewing enjoyment.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description of your show?

In this cheeky (pun intended) all-male burlesque revue, studly Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire, turn Canada 150 into Manada 150 as they mount a cross-country tour to celebrate the Sexiest Sesquicentennial ever! Featuring: a chorus of dancing beavers that aren’t afraid to show some tail, a mountie-lumberjack romance that erupts in maple-syrupy goodness, French Canadian garçons with big… baguettes, a hunky hockey player eager to score, and many more saucy surprises!

With 2017 being Canada’s sesquicentennial, I’m sure you had lots of Canadiana to choose from when building your show. Can you talk about how this show came together and why & how you integrate humour into it?

This show was so much fun to put together!  Anyone who grows up in Canada has a healthy nostalgia and patriotism for all sorts of Canadian symbols–the mountie, the lumberjack, the beaver–along with a healthy dose of cynicism and a sense of humour about it.  We just thought it’d be really fun to take all that patriotism and put it through a burlesque lens that simultaneously celebrates it and pokes fun at it–especially with all the Canada 150 craziness at its absolute peak.  Burlesque is about nudity and stripping, of course, but it’s also about satire!  One example is a sexy striptease by a hockey player who bumps and grinds his way towards you sexily only to reveal a missing row of teeth when he smiles.  Is it sexy?  Yes!  Is it also grotesque and accurate and funny?  Yes!  We delight in both the sexiness AND the comedy.

The most fun part of this satire may actually be the show’s amazing hosts Justin Trudeau (Fringe superstar Morgan Norwich) and Sophie Gregoire (Fringe Superstar Johnnie Walker).  How can we not laugh at the ridiculousness of a prime minister who is celebrated more for his good looks than for his actual policy? Who takes long shirtless jogs through the woods for “surprise” photo ops?  Love him or hate him–Trudeau, that is–you’ll love seeing our hosts poke fun at all the trudeamania and shirtless vanity on display.

Mo’Manada features even more (and new) characters that are Canadian icons. What is your favourite character to play?

My favourite act to do in the show BY FAR is the Beaver number.  Without giving too much away, imagine this: 4 boys dressed up as a chorus-line of scantily clad beavers dancing seductively while a beautiful lady sings about beavers to the tune of Peggy Lee’s “Fever”.  It’s a magical number laced with double entendre, fun jazzy dance moves, amazing costumes–beaver tails–and a great finish.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Whether you’re gay straight, male/female, there’s something in this show for you!  Even if seeing semi-nude men isn’t your thing (and really, who’s complaining about that aside from homophobic straight men?), you’ll laugh your face off!  Yeah we’re getting naked, but we’re also funny as hell, we can dance, and you’ll never feel more patriotic than when you laugh at seeing 4 nearly naked men shaking patriotic tassels with their butts to Can Con tunes.

The 36th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 17 – 27. Get your tickets at starting August 9.

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