Polliwog Theatre Factory

The Tragedie of Dr. Pioneer and Ms. Muse

Rewritten by: Sarah Levine, Jennifer Paterson, and Jaimie Tait

Directors: Craig Hall and Kevin MacDonald Original musical score: Jeff Tymoschuck Set design: Craig Hall and Kevin MacDonald Costume design: Erin Monahan Mask design: Melinda Esworthy Light design: Andrew McCaw Sound design: Jeff Tymoschuck Stage Manager: Maureen Sawasy Running Crew: Sarah Levine

Reviewer: Jane Penistan

This entertaining offering was hatched at Theatre Under the Gun 111, debuted at the 2001 Fringe Festival, where it was voted "Pick of the Fringe" and held over, and is now, after a few more rewrites, a full fledged production. Can Science and Art live and love together? When both are experimental they seem to succeed. But what are the side effects of this union, and what is the long-term prognosis? These are the questions humorously asked here.

While Dr. Pioneer (Andrew McNee) is trying to look inside his patient's psyche, we, the audience, are treated to the inner thoughts of both the doctor and the hypochondriacal artist, Ms Muse (Jaimie Tait), by the manifestations of their inner selves (Joshua Drebit and Jennifer Paterson). While his office nurse Wendy (Melinda Esworthy) is suspicious of Dr. Pioneer's use of his amazing machine, she is also jealous of her employer's attraction to his patient.

This precipitates trouble in the office. So also does the press, publishing sensational but unsubstantiated data, which leads the doctor's estranged wife (Jennifer Paterson) to suppose that he is now very rich, and therefore demands her share of the loot in no uncertain terms. More mayhem in the office. As a result of her experimental treatment, Ms Muse returns to painting, and her exhibition is put on by the fantastic Jonathon ((Joshua Drebit) and attended by critics all playing "one-up-manship".

This show runs at breakneck speed with the scenes changing like lightning with the assistance of the running crew. The five actors change characters with the help of very clever, funny masks and outrageous costumes to become all the extras the script demands. The music, singing, and dancing are tuneful and well executed. This is a fun show with an undertone of seriousness that is never didactic. Nor does it interfere with the enjoyment of this comedy. Here is good family entertainment for the holiday season. Have a good laugh.

The Tragedie of Dr. Pioneer and Ms Muse runs at the Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street, at 20.00 on 12 - 28 December 2002, with some matinees. Tickets, information, and reservations from the Firehall Arts Centre Box Office, 504-689-0926, or www.firehallartscentre.ca

2002, Jane Penistan