SNAFU Dance Theatre, Ottawa famous for their hit Little Orange Man (Ottawa Fringe 2012, Undercurrents 2014) is back with a new tale that sees Kitt teaming up with fellow social reject, Jane, to prepare us all for the coming apocalypse.
Should you see it?
Kitt & Jane comes with the subtitle – An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future – which sums it up pretty exactly. The stage is set for International Wildlife Appreciation Day here at high school. Students will be giving five minute presentations in appreciation of wildlife, but that plan is quickly derailed when generally accepted social rejects Kitt & Jane take the stage and, believing they only have an hour to live and an important message to get out into the world in that hour, hijack the entire assembly. And for the next hour and a bit, you belong to Kitt & Jane.
Both in the sense that they’ve physically taken you prisoner, and in the willing sense that your hearts and minds can’t help but belong to them as they sing, dance, play, and use shadow puppetry to say what they need to say. Kitt (played by Ingrid Hansen) is a hyperactive, dominant, force of nature, while Jane (played by Rod Peter Jr.) is withdrawn, introspective, and caught up in the whirlwind of Kitt’s convictions. The two are the perfect balance of contrast and complement, being as completely opposite in as many ways as they are completely alike. This is what best friends are made of.
And that message that Kitt & Jane need to tell you? The world is ending in about five years (they’ve conducted rigorous science experiments to prove it), but no big, they just want to make sure you’re ready for whichever new world will follow it. Part laying out the evidence, part prep work for the coming change, all friendship, all fun. Almost too much fun and too many laughs for one show to handle.
Rooted in ideas of sustainability and climate change and that sooner or later something has to give, Kitt & Jane is told from the minds of these teenagers and is far from preachy and doom-filled. These teenagers made observations, their imaginations ran wild, and we get to enjoy the fruits of that.
If, from reading this, or anything else about Kitt & Jane, you think you might like it – you will. If you like to go into a theatre and have fun and feel you’re a part of it, without actually having do anything, you’ll love Kitt & Jane.
Having seen and loved Little Orange Man, it’s hard not to compare it to Kitt & Jane. However, the two shows are completely different. Kitt is indeed back, a little older but still just as strange, energetic and creative, but this time she’s recruited a sidekick. Shy, angsty teenager Jane is there to participate in her apocalypse-related scientific experiments and has been coerced into helping her share this knowledge with the captive Wildlife Appreciation Day audience. Kitt & Jane is a quirky show with a very strong emotional center – in the end, it’s all about friendship. It just so happens that it’s a ton of fun along the way. Both Ingrid Hansen and Rod Peter Jr. breathe life into their characters and have great, apparent chemistry. It’s also wonderful to see Kitt’s energy bounced off another character. Kitt & Jane was a delight, and I can only hope that we keep seeing more of Kitt at all the stages of her life.
I’m sure someone who has seen Little Orange Man would appreciate SNAFU Dance Theatre’s latest offering more than I did but having never attended any of their shows, I can assure you that I was just as welcome and entertained as their longstanding fans. In fact, they’ve definitely made a new fan!
Almost everything Valerie and Allan wrote rings true to me. This show is indeed almost too fun to handle. It’s definitely a quirky show with a strong emotional core. The characters are every bit as delightful as described, and the actors have great chemistry. The only thing holding me back from a 5/5 rating is that I felt their pro-environment message actually came off as preachy at times. Never doom-filled though.
Between the raucous xylophone rock song, the stunning shadow puppets, and simply the best characters presented at the Fringe this year, An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future was the perfect “Fringe” show and a near perfect show generally speaking too. Can’t wait for more!
Matthew’s (pre) Follow-up
Matthew saw and reviewed Kitt & Jane when it was in Montreal Fringe, the week before Ottawa. Linking to his review here for convenience.
What did you think of Kitt & Jane? Are you ready for the apocalypse? Do you have the Opinberum song stuck in your head? Join the discussion in the comments below.
For more information about Kitt & Jane, including show times, and how to buy advance tickets, visit the show page on ottawafringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/kitt-and-jane-an-interactive-survival-guide-to-the-near-post-apocalyptic-future/