Preview by Caelan Scott
This is probably the thousandth time this has been said, but the pandemic has been a frustrating time for us all. Whether it be lockdown isolation, the haphazard easing and tightening of restrictions, or the undeserving tolerance of anti-vaxxers, it’s a miracle that we as Albertans haven’t collectively gone insane during this time.
Much of our ire with the current situation and how it has been handled can be directed at the incompetence of our provincial leaders, whom many of us have grown to despise throughout this pandemic. But it’s best not to keep our frustration bottled up but instead let loose a little by laughing at a little bit of playful mockery and political satire. Bringing us this little shot of catharsis is Edmonton’s very own Grindstone Theatre with their latest musical, Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer, directed by Byron Martin and written by Byron Martin and Simon Abbot.
The initial production kicked off on November 10th through till November 21st, followed by a second run from December 9th to the 16th. Sadly, I couldn’t get hold of these tickets during the first run since they sold out at lightning speed, and then during the second run, I got sick and had to give it up. But fret not theatre-goers of Edmonton, for the Grindstone Theatre has extended their run yet again in their cleverly named ‘Fourth Wave,’ which will be running from January 12th to the 30th of next year!
The Grindstone Theatre describes the premise: “It’s 1983 at Alberta University. Newly-elected student union president Jason Kenney and his frat, Upsilon Cappa Pi, are planning the hottest year-end party ever (rodeo-themed of course). But Kenney’s nemesis Rachel will do anything to stop him. Soon Dean Trudeau, his new friend Deena, and even his frat mates are turning against him. Can Kenney save his hot summer party, and his frat at the same time?”
From the description of this premise alone, it seems that JK’s Hot Boy Summer revels in its absurdity. So it would probably be best to leave your disbelief at the doors and enjoy a fun, alternate universe story. With Rachel Notley as the villain and Kenney as the hero, we can probably expect a production that pokes fun at all the parties, no matter where they lie on the political spectrum.
Bringing Jason Kenney to life onstage is Jonathan Workun alongside Stephanie Wolfe as Rachel Notley. However, my friends who were able to snatch some tickets up quickly said the standout performance goes to Abby Vandenberghe as Deena Hinshaw, who perfectly encapsulated the energy of our once loved chief medical officer. In closing, my friend Lily described the play as “a fantastic display of local Edmonton spirit and some much-needed release.”
Those of you in the mood for a little light-hearted satire can book your fourth wave tickets at grindstonetheatre.ca for $40 a seat. But it would be best to do it quickly because this show sells out fast, and it might not be long until we are slapped with another bout of restrictions!
Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer
January 12 – 30, 2022
Auditorium (Room 1-08)
8406 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury (91st street)