What’s funnier than four guys racing around barefoot in life jackets? Oh wait, let me qualifyâ€”with manic energy and crazed expressions on a nearly naked stage at the Centaur Theatre in Old Port? I bore witness and can attest; the answer is nothing. On Tuesday night, Montreal’s most acclaimed improv and sketch comedy troupe, Uncalled For, opened the 14th annual Wildside Festival to a wholly receptive crowd. Well, except for that stodgy couple who left half way through. The only explanation I can reason is that everyone else’s perpetual laughter ricocheted off the walls and knocked the sense out of them. Otherwise, no one’s eyes veered away from the boisterous foursome that is Uncalled For. The perfect fusion of ADHD and scathingly intelligent wit, Matt Goldberg, Dan Jeannotte, Anders Yates and Nicolas Wright (a returning member stepping in for Mike Hughes) performed their sketch comedy creation Hypnogogic Logic for over an hour of pure hilarity.
Like their crafty title implies, the show’s a dream world of spectacular spectacles and hallucinogenic happenings. They jump through the air, roll around the floor, sing, dance, preach the dictionary and make you wish you could hit snooze when it’s over just to see them perform for even a few more minutes. Never missing a beat, they deliver the show with great comedic timing, relentless energy and a bountiful stage presence.
But they’ve had some time to hone their skills. The group got their start back in 1999, improvising together as mere kiddies at John Abbott College. Since then, they’ve toured across Canada and the US and have written and produced several award winning sketch comedy shows. Most of the classic bands we grew up with, let alone comedy troupes, couldn’t manage to survive a decade, so this marks a remarkable feat on its own.
Since 2003, the group has presented their comedic prowess at nation-wide Fringe Festivals, performing sketch comedy shows to an array of audiences. And come June when the Fringe sets up in Montreal, you’ll find the troupe hosting The 13th Hour, the festival’s late night talk show and dance party. Along with producing the Hour, hosting it has been a reoccurring role they’ve held for the past 6 years.
But June is a long way away, and dreaming of warm weather just makes one bitter. Thankfully, the Wildside Festival was established in this bleak and barren month, created as a way of showcasing new and emerging Montreal theatre companies. With this year’s Wildside Festival continuing until January 15th, you’ll have ample opportunities to catch Uncalled For perform Hypnogogic Logic at the historic Centaur Theatre. They also present an improv show at MainLine Theatre once a month, so hell, why not make it a date? These guys are too hilarious to ignore, and once you’re sitting in the audience, there is no way you can ignore them.
Catch Uncalled For at the Wildside Festival this Saturday the 8th at 9pm, Sunday the 9th at 1 pm, Thursday the 13th at 7 pm, or Saturday the 15th at 1 pm.
For ticket information check out www.centaurtheatre.com. To see what Uncalled For is up to next, go to www.uncalledforimprov.com.
Top Photo by: Jeremy Bobrow
Bottom Photo by: Tristan Brand