Reviewed by Nicholas McBurney
by Kate Smith & Will Somers
60 min / Comedy, Musical / PG
Thanks to the Australian accents in HOOTENANNY! I may never be able to look at my deck the same way again.
After 10 years of international touring, these famous children’s entertainers, Hoot (Will Somers) and Annie (Kate Smith), have had their share of problems. Hoot especially. With the latest scandal being a video of Hoot buying what appears to be cocaine, tensions are high and some serious cracks are starting to show in their kid-friendly masks.
First performed at the Ottawa Fringe in 2015, I confess that I missed HOOTENANNY! the first time around, but Smith and Somers are clearly comfortable in their roles by now. The headset mics are both appropriate props and function to keep the actors voices from being lost in their keyboard and guitar playing. And trust me – you don’t want to miss any of the lyrics. Whether it’s a song about tolerating racist grandparents (easier to just wait them out) or herbivores learning that carnivores don’t make the best friends, I was laughing the whole way through. Hopping between saccharine children’s melodies and sharper humour, the songs reflect the rhythm of the entire performance.
The projector screen is only used a couple of times, but it feels very authentic to the kind of kid’s show that HOOTENANNY! is supposed to be. A bit towards the end has Somers in drag, which feels a bit dated for 2017, but fortunately it’s never used as a punch line.
If seeing some of the darker underbelly of children’s entertainers appeals to your inner TMZ fan, you’ll love HOOTENANNY!.
HOOTENANNY! is playing at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave) until Saturday June 17, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info. Apt613 is trying to see every show on opening weekend of the 2017 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.