Cooking Confessions – Tohu Scores Again

I adore the Tohu – it’s a specially built building for Circus arts built on the campus of the Cirque du Soleil here in Montreal. It houses – along with a variety of circus performances throughout the year – a school for Circus arts. So it’s a multipurpose building – with very cool seating options, super high ceilings to allow for the kinds of high performances we expect from acrobats and the like, plus great sight lines. Not a bad seat in a very big house.

We have season tickets – which means that we picked out 3 of their 6 different performances to see this year. For us – this is a minimum – normally we opt for 5 or even 6 of their offerings, but our travel plans this year cut out a lot of the options.

But on to the review of Cooking Confessions – or in French – Cuisine & confessions

Clearly the theme of the night was going to be food – but since the performers are the highly talented, multi-lingual Sept Doigt a la main – 7 fingers on a hand – one can expect that food isn’t going to be the only thing being tossed around. And the set – a multi-level kitchen with a working stove, a sink,  a fridge, and of course rolling tables, hidden furniture, and hooks descending from the ceiling was quite the sight.

We sat down – and were immediately approached by one of the performers – a young lady from Argentina who invited me up on stage to visit her kitchen and help fold wash clothes. Victor was invited up by a young man with rasta hair – who confided in him that Basket Ball was his favorite sport. Other members of the audience were also invited to visit the stage – with its surprisingly springy floor. Despite the paint job that made it look like hardwood – in fact it was padded to give the performers extra spring! Very neat – and quite surprising.

Our guides escorted us back to our seats – and went on to find other members of the audience willing to walk up on stage.

Cool part – since we’d ‘chatted’ with the performers – we felt more part of the action – and this lent an added layer of personal interest to the later tossing and jumping around that was bound to happen.

The party begins when the audience is assembled – and starts with food confessions – performer after performer talking about their food memories – or listing their favorite foods – from the sublime to the desert! One incredibly thin gal, who one can guess never actually swallows anything, listed nothing but deserts – each with more love in her voice than the last.

While the confessions are going on – each performer takes center stage in their turn. There is a remarkable juggler – juggling kitchen tools of course. He does a wonderful turn with stainless steel bowls – and ends his act juggling over-sized wire whips – 7 at a time. Stunning.

The pole dancer/climber/acrobat was probably my personal favorite. He’d come over to chat with us in the lead-up section – so we knew that he’d been injured and has a wrap on one hand. To say he worked thru the pain would be obvious. He ran up and down the 50 foot pole with a grace and a style that the squirrels in my back yard would envy. Several times he climbed to the top – and then apparently let go – dropping down to inches from the ground before grabbing hold to stop. Once he even did it head first. Man – that guy was outstanding.

My husbands favorite performer was the young man with rastas. His specialty – jumping thru hoops. But this is a ‘cooking’ show – so he starts off jumping thru the kitchen cabinets – and graduates to jumping thru people posing with legs and arms forming the hoops. My top favorite jump – hands and feet first – bum in back – thru the looped leg of one of the other female performers. How does he do that.

During the cooking demonstration – they toss eggs – the ones that got thrown to the audience were fake – the ones that got thrown around the stage were real, and got cracked into the stainless bowls for future cooking. They even made banana bread – and had everyone in the massive audience set their iphone alarms for 36 minutes. When they went off – the bread was baked to be sliced and served to lucky members of the audience.

Standing ovation – of course.

On until November 6th at Tohu. But not to worry. If you miss this one – these ober-talented performers will be back next year with a new show – and there is still an entire Tohu season to enjoy.

Tohu – one of the Great places in Montreal – don’t miss it.


La Pista Tango vs the Montreal Gospel Choir – No Contest

Sometimes you get what you pay for – and sometimes you don’t. This was one of those times when the high-priced option lost out – big time.

Last night (Feb 22, 2013) – the Montreal Gospel Choir performed for $12 a ticket at Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours in Old Montreal. The concert was simply wonderful fun. Not every solo singer was perfection, and the acoustics left something to be desired, but all 40 plus members of the choir put their heart and souls into providing outstanding entertainment. It was simply a rollicking good time. My favorite part – aside from the conductor (Carol  Bernard)’s willingness to have the audience participate – big time  – was the giant image of Mary that overlooks the audience. Somehow I’d like to think that she was having a good time too. For an hour and half (way to short a time if you ask me), the audience sang, clapped, stomped their feet, and generally enjoyed watching this talented group of singers strut their stuff.

Not nearly as much fun was La Pista Tango (Feb 21, 2013) – a high-priced waste of time and money held in Theatre Maisonneuve. For some unknown reason, the powers that be decided that watching Tango wouldn’t be good enough – so instead of just concentrating on dancers, about 90% of the performance was juggling and balancing acts. The problem – we in Montreal are spoiled. We have the Cirque and Tohu if we want to watch acrobats and jugglers – and the performers at the Cirque and Tohu are uniformly top-notch. On the other hand – the performers at La Pista Tango looked like amateurs in comparison. They just didn’t ‘do’ it for me – and judging from the lack of applause – they lost most of the rest of the audience as well. Too bad. Wonder if I can get my money back.