The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame, produced by Black Sheep Theatre, is a delightful comedy that includes dance, song, improv, physical comedy and audience interplay. It runs until November 1st at the Gladstone.
Should you see it?
What did you think of The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame?
The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame is an odd yet endearing comedy about a play within a play. Enter The Hunchinson Family Players™. There’s Paul (Josh Matthews), the big brother and the brains behind the whole operation. He’s a self-described theatrical genius, having written, directed and choreographed the entire evening. Then there’s Hilda (Sarah Petersiel), the quirky yet devoted sister who wants nothing more than to find a man in the audience to go home with. And Johann (Matt Chapman), the younger brother and a budding entrepreneur, his “talent” for selling other people’s belongings often interrupting the show. Together, these three siblings attempt to perform The Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, the performance hits a snag when Johann approaches Paul about some changes he’s made to the script. Changes he believes give the audience what they actually want – a romantic comedy.
Right from the beginning this play was fun and lively. Immediately upon entering the theatre we were greeted by the three siblings. Paul and Hilda were handing out “rocks” (actually balls of taped up newspaper) that we were directed to throw on stage when they gave the cue, and Johann was busy trying to convince people to buy “merchandise” at a, he assured us, much reduced cost. Generally, I shy away from theatre that has an interactive element, but in this case it added so much delight and humour.
I really enjoyed that this was a character-driven piece. The play within the play took a backseat as we watched these characters engage with each other and with us. There was fighting, there was teasing, there were all those things siblings do with one another. It felt less like I was watching theatre and more like I was watching a family. Matt Chapman, Josh Matthews and Sarah Petersiel did an awesome job making these characters come alive.
If you’re a fan of slapstick comedy, audience participation and/or theatre that is a little outside the box, The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame should definitely be on your list.