‘Avocado Toast’ theatre review
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Last year, the Vancouver TheatreSports League put on the production Oh, Canada, which explored the country’s history in an improvised way. In that show, they played a game where they did the same scene in three different Canadian cities. Now, imagine the same game over an hour and a half and you get Avocado Toast.
Created by League member Lauren McGibbon, the show tackles everything related to Vancouver, and it is one of the best shows that the League has ever made in my opinion. In it, a tour guide gives us a tour of the city and shows us the aspects that make Vancouver so distinctive.
In the opening night performance on July 5, McGibbon played the tour guide and the Vancouverites in the tour included Margret Nyfors, Ken Lawson, Rae Lynn Carson, Jullian Kolstee, Taz VanRassel, and Ed Witzke. Throughout the show, the tour guide uses an umbrella as a stick. The cast performs a game where they do the same scene in different places, except this time they do it in three different Vancouver neighbourhoods. In the show I watched, they acted out going through the Grouse Grind normally, and then they did the same scene in Yaletown depicting the wealthy residents of that neighbourhood, and finally in Main Street, depicting the people in that area. The cast’s depiction of those neighbourhoods was exactly like the people that I see in those places.
Next, two construction workers (VanRassel and Kolstee) go inside the theatre and tell the tour group that they will demolish it, and they have to convince Miss Concord Pacific by 9 pm that the theatre is a place where they make people laugh and that it should not be demolished to make way for apartments. This references the increase of apartments being built in the city as well as the #SavetheRio campaign. Miss Concord Pacific is played by someone in the audience.
The cast then plays a game where they get someone in the audience to give them a word in a foreign language and they say something that sounds like the word. On opening night, the members found someone who also speaks Japanese and worked the words that they used into the scene they were doing.
The Vancouverites next sing a song about something on the spot around a campfire.
In the second half of the show, they pay tribute to Vancouver being recognized as Hollywood North by doing a film in the style of a Hallmark Channel film that takes place in Vancouver. In the performance I watched, the tour group did a film about an employee in Science World taking a break and finding his purpose in the world. During certain points, Lawson and Carson came in as fitness enthusiasts and had the audience do a fitness trend. I was laughing a lot when Lawson said that the previous fitness trend they did was a fad. There were a lot of funny moments from each of the members throughout the whole show, especially when they referenced something about the city that I recognized.
The design of the set has a lot of aspects of a typical street in Vancouver. Before the performance, they served avocado toast in the lounge—which is the name of the show and is a stereotypical part of Vancouver cuisine. I had a few great-tasting pieces myself, and I hope they offer this during every performance.
Avocado Toast makes fun of Vancouver in a way that is very funny and relatable, and it’s one of the shows to see this summer. Avocado Toast is now playing at the Improv Centre until September 1.