Seeing Variété successfully match music of a master abstractionist with elements of old-fashioned vaudeville — in a cross-disciplinary effort between the musically experimental Art of Time Ensemble and the dramatically forward Volcano performance company — was particularly shocking and particularly enjoyable.
Above all, hats off to the creative team; In bringing strong, diverse arts constituencies together, this production brought ‘variete’ in its old sense of change and renewal, to Toronto’s new music scene.
A daring, often sexy, at times hilarious parade of clowns, trapeze artists, dancers, light spinners and other artists – a kind of Cirque du Soleil plunked into the Gladstone Hotel.
Individually, and without music, any of these diversions might have seemed much slimmer than they were together and with Kagel’s score. The best episodes spoke frankly to obvious carnival desires for titillation or astonishment, while acknowledging the ghosts of lost meaning that hide in the shadows of Kagel’s vaudeville.