Boomerang Series, Volume 1

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

Performed by Jayson McDonald, Mike Mathieu and Andrew Connor
A Cody Rivers Show Production
The Grand Theatre
The McManus Studio
April 25-26, 2008

A grand show like Twist and Shout may boast elaborate stagecraft and constant music for a great presentation, there is a special thespian beauty with the magic that can happen when you rely on imagination and one’s performance alone. This show is a fine demonstration of that philosophy, played by Jayson McDonald for the Cody Rivers Show. With barely any props, both acts stretch their creativity to produce a fun and memorable show where the mind’s eye is everything.

The show opens with Jayson McDonald doing a stand up comedy solo. I especially like the Generation X jokes like the pain of home video’s obsession with planned obsolesence and his Super Friends piece, although the latter could have used a little more comics savy to really impress me. Nevertheless, with only his imagination and voice and only one pratfall, McDonald pulls off this difficult form of comedy with the aplomb of a veteran.

With Jayson having the audience properly warmed up the audience, the performance of the Cody Rivers Show company was amazing. Part ballet, part pantomime and part stand up, Mike Mathieu and Andrew Connor create an intricate and carefully coordinated performance that runs through a gamut of stories and gags.

For instance, the pair are able to create one sketch with settings that span the globe which they establish with a surprising effectiveness with an elaborate naming ritual that is repeated whenever the scene changes. As such, they create a vast scope for a story of high dreams in far off places and hopes dashed with a comically memorable power.

One sketch is even stranger with their “Face to Face Theatre,” which gleefully invades the personal space of audience volunteers with a cheerful audacity. The fact that they then top themselves with a no audience version with their back to the audience fits right into the general silliness of the show.

The fact that the pair are able to do all with with only some face makeup, a projector and some chairs is a shiny testament to their performing skill to convey so much with so little. It is that imaginative simplicity that puts more elaborate mundane productions to shame.

Together, McDonald and The Cody Rivers Show have created a special show that needs little, but promises much and delivers.