Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a performance of Love You To Death: A Murder Mystery Cabaret created by the wonderfully talented folks of Small But Mighty Productions.
To be truthfully honest, this was the first ever cabaret that I attended in my history of theatre adventures. What’s the saying? You always remember your first time? Well after seeing this show hit the stage at Buddies In Bad a Times Theatre…one simple word…WAOW!!!!
Love You To Death premiered on October 27th to immediate rave reviews, which only excited me even more to attend. The news that this show would have you laughing from beginning to end, was perfectly accurate, and brought something new, bold, fun and joyful to the Toronto Theatre scene.
The show follows the tale of privileged, playboy millionaire Derek Van Hout and his six lovers. Married to his gracious and perfectly composed wife Kim, he is confronted by his 5 other lustful indiscretions and a surprise gathering ensues. Within moments of Derek trying to explain himself, and justify his scandalous behaviour, he drops dead.
What has happened? Poison! Who would have done such a horrible, inhuman thing? Well…just look around…six lovers…six lovers scorned…six lovers’ revenge….and now…six lovers desperate to prove their innocence. But what we know is true, is that the killer is in the room.
Without ruining the ending, I will simply say that, as dark as that description of the show may be, you will never see a performance that will make you cry with laughter, as much as this one. Through their theatrical expertise and natural flair for drama and comedy, Melly Magrath, Caitlin Turner & Victoria Dunsmore have collectively brought something to the public that is the perfect amount of drama, mystery and comedy, all in one.
But what about the cast themselves? Bryan Kling played the role of millionaire Casanova and player, Derek Van Hout. He was outstanding in this role, as acted as smooth , entitled, confident and unapologetic as his character was meant to be.
But it was his wife and secret lovers that had me bent over laughing, as they each told the audience and the hilarious police officers Larry & Gerry (Milton Dover & Sarah McGowan) the story of how they met Derek; how he swept them off their feet and how he eventually betrayed them.
Jacqueline Godbout was divine in her role as the trophy wife Kim. Jacqueline had the crowd laughing with her Little Miss Perfect ways, and the way she showed her disgust towards the other lovers was terrific. Her perfectly timed reactions and cheeky insults, had me giggling in the audience.
In her dual role as both co-creator and actress, Caitlin Turner exuded confidence and passion in the role of Gilly. Not only is she fantastic in the creation process, but she just proved herself to be a master of many talents, through her performance.
Lauren Mayer played Vanessa with every fibre of her being, bringing to life the risky, edgy and dangerous element in Derek’s cheating circle of lovers. Being already familiar with Lauren Mayer from my trips to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I still get blown away by the wonderful impact she has on the musical theatre scene.
As time went by, we were introduced to Bianca, another perfectly composed character that truly rivalled Derek’s wife, Kim. Bianca was brought to life by the delightful, Rebecca Horvey, who not only has obvious choreography dance skills, but has a equally fabulous singing-voice to match.
But much credit must be given to 2 people who won the crowd over, with their outrageous, dramatic, and downright loveable characters. Ali Hand played the lustful, immature, younger lover of our male protagonist, Carley. Her childish outbursts and dramatic reactions to her female competition was perfect in every way. Her character reminded me of a few of my friends, which made me warm to the role immediately.
Nevertheless, it was Danik McAfee in his role as the sassy, outspoken male flight attendant and final surprise lover of Derek, who shone brightly on performance night. His role brought even more laughter, fun and comical moments to an already wonderful show.
But what is a cabaret without the musical numbers? This did not disappoint in the slightest. With cleverly remastered and rearranged lyrics of classic songs known by all, this was what tied the show together and most of all, it is what allowed the cast to show us what they do best. With numbers such as Cell Block Tango, this had the audience swaying to every lyric of the famous showtune. There were moments that made me tear up, with Jacqueline Godbout’s haunting rendition of the emotional and meaningful, With You, and times when I laughed like a child to the sweet-revenge number, called What Did I Ever See In Him? But we don’t truly get to hear the beauty of all their voices combined until the performance of the popular, I know him so well. Caitlin Turner and Ali Hand were ecstasy to the ears during this tune, and as each performer stepped in, their combined brilliance transformed the song and left me in awe.
So if you want a show that will lift your spirits, awaken your passions, and most of all keep you laughing….then Love You To Death is a show NOT TO BE MISSED.
Tickets can be purchased online by clicking HERE.
With only 3 performances left at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street, Toronto), make sure to get your seats booked now. Remaining shows include a 2pm and 7:30pm performance on Sat Oct 29th, and a 7:30pm performance on Sunday Oct 30th.
With the response to and success of this show, I simply cannot wait to see what else Small But Mighty Productions have in store for us, in the near future.