Political satire gets makeover with music and genderqueer characters


Andrew Wheeler and Nick Fontaine in The Best Laid Plans. Photo by David Cooper.

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Terry Fallis’ 2008 political satire, The Best Laid Plans, makes the jump from the written page to the musical stage with the upcoming adaptation from Vancouver’s Patrick Street Productions and Touchstone Theatre. But more than simply a musical based on the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour winner, the play sees two of the novel’s original characters re-written as genderqueer.

“We saw a real chance to create two people who are not just stereotypes, but rather two individuals fighting for awareness and political status,” said the shows creators, Vern Thiessen, Benjamin Elliott and Anton Lipovetsky.”We hope that the characters on stage in our adaptation will represent as broad and vibrant a spectra as we see in Canadian society today.”

Based on Terry Fallis’ award-winning satirical first novel, the story takes place in and around Ottawa during the run-up to a federal election. Daniel Addison, a speechwriter for the leader of the Liberal Opposition, is dropping out of politics for the relatively tame world of academe. Before Daniel can cast off politics once and for all, he’s given a Herculean task: find a Liberal candidate to run in an unassailable Conservative riding. Daniel convinces Angus McLintock, a crusty old Scot, to let his name stand in an election he’s sure to lose.

With the timing near perfect given the federal election currently underway, the musical adaptation of The Best Laid Plans is also uniquely Canadian.

“Grand and epic always lend themselves to a musical, and the book had just about everything you could ask for: good and evil, a love story and lots of political comedy” says Lipovetsky, “And nobody leaves unscathed.”

You can read the entire interview with The Best Laid Plans author Terry Fallis, and its musical creator counterparts, Anton Lipovetsky and Benjamin Elliott on Vancouver Presents.

The Best Laid Plans: A Musical plays at the York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr) September 19 – October 3. Visit http://thecultch.com for tickets and information.


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