reviewed by Paula Citron
The Mummers’ Masque
Toronto Masque Theatre
Music and libretto by Dean Burry
Conducted by Larry Beckwith
Directed by Derek Boyes
Starring Laura Whalen, Krisztina Szabo, John Kriter and Giles Tomkins, with dancers Pierre Chartrand and Hannah Naiman (and the Wrengirls
At the Victoria College Chapel until Dec. 6
The always inventive Toronto Masque Theatre has come up with a lively operatic alternative to Messiah and The Nutcracker. The company commissioned The Mummers’ Masque from prolific Newfoundland-born composer Dean Burry. The mummers are supposedly a group of neighbours in outrageous disguises who’ve come to entertain you with songs and dances about St. George.
On a positive note, Burry has written delightful music that incorporates medieval rhythms and modern dissonance. Sprightly musical accents come from the penny whistles, uilleann pipes, accordion, bouzouki and a percussion instrument called the ugly stick. The audience gets to sing along in the carols. Another plus is the charming step dance numbers choreographed by Pierre Chartrand, and Erika Connor’s costumes are terrific. Director Derek Boyes keeps the action popping.
Unfortunately, diction is very bad. Talented singers Laura Whalen, Krisztina Szabo, John Kriter and Giles Tomkins might as well be singing in Chinese.
The Mummers’ Masque continues at the Victoria College Chapel until Dec. 6.