SNAFU dance brings a lively and energetic late-night offering to this year’s undercurrents festival with Snack Music, a highly physical show with heavy elements of improv comedy and object theatre: imagine telling an audience an embarrassing story about yourself and then watching three purple jumpsuit-clad actors retell it using food props and synthesizer sound effects.

Pictured Top to Bottom: Andrew G Young, Ingrid Hansen and Elliot Loran

The basic concept is simple, but depending on the stories audience members tell the show can reach out to a wide variety of subjects. The performance begins with each performer telling their own (pretty personal) story to break the ice and encourage audience members to open up about their own embarrassingly hilarious anecdotes. In so doing, the recreation of the stories with food props may trivialize a potentially humiliating experience, but more importantly Snack Music’s retellings are an especially communal way of moving on from the past and being able to laugh off what once made you self-conscious.

The performers are all very talented but I must give a special mention to Elliott Loran, whose keyboard melodies (including the choice of thematically suitable keyboard settings: for a story involving an ill-timed bowel movement, he gave the option for “jazz scat”) brightly keep the zippy pace of Snack Music going strong through both rehearsed and improvised sections. During his own personal story he plays part of an original song he wrote for a major life milestone, which makes me wish I had known at the time that I could also achieve the same milestone with a fabulous song.

The main drawback to this show is it feels like it could go on much longer than it does: 45 minutes really goes by with this one. Unfortunately due to the trimmed-down length of shows in the Arts Court Studio the performers only have time to re-enact two audience members’ stories, so I really hope that SNAFU is able to return to Ottawa at some point with the full-length version. As it is, this bite-size morsel is very, very appealing.

Snack Music

A SNAFU and Snack Music Collective Production

Created by Ginette Mohr, Elliot Loran, Andrew G Young, and Ingrid Hansen

Performed by Elliot Loran, Andrew G Young, and Ingrid Hansen

Directed by Ginette Mohr

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