Phoenix theatre showcases comic alumni

Peter N’ Chris and the Mystery at Hungry Heart Motel runs Oct. 11 to 20, 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 20.

Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson star in Peter N’ Chris and the Mystery at Hungry Heart Motel.

Since graduating university, Peter Carlone and Chris Wilson have dabbled in growing up and landing real jobs and now find themselves at the centre of a murder mystery, though there’s not much of a mystery left to solve.

The narrator spoils the secret right off the top when he reveals the identity of  the murderer in Peter N’ Chris and the Mystery at Hungry Heart Motel, the fourth show written and performed by Carlone and Wilson. The sketch comedy duo and Fringe stars were born of the University of Victoria theatre department in 2008 and have returned to their home turf to kick off the Phoenix Theatre’s 2012-13 season.

The whodunit detective spoof is more stylized than their previous works and is less of a sketch show. “We do it in real Peter and Chris style, meaning the spookiness isn’t allowed to take over, mainly because Peter and Chris don’t get it,” Carlone said.

The two 27 year olds met in acting class at UVic and began performing sketches at coffee houses and open mic nights around town. So far Wilson’s ability to mine any situation and conflate it until he finds the humour and Carlone’s desire to make everything explode, have been a fruitful pairing.

“We have a mix of these outrageous ideas and directions that things go, but at the same time it’s very rooted in common place. There are a lot of heightened characters and events that we definitely had fun creating, but there’s also a chance to poke fun at things like all of the annoying things in a washroom, like the automatic taps not working.”

Since graduating, Carlone and Wilson have relocated to Vancouver and won Pick of the Fringe Awards in Victoria, Vancouver and Edmonton, been nominated for a 2012 Comedy Network Canadian Comedy Award and toured North America.

Despite the accolades, the traditionally trained actor acknowledges a conundrum all comedic performers are faced with.

“For comedy and comedians to be who they are, they can’t be taken seriously, but conversely, I don’t think that they’re taken seriously enough. You’re not supposed to take them seriously, or even respect them that much because the whole point is to make people laugh and entertainment is the priority.

“Comedians have an important role in art and culture, but if we started treating them like poet laureates and fancy people, then it would diminish how funny it is.”

Peter N’ Chris and the Mystery at Hungry Heart Motel runs Oct. 11 to 20, 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 20.

Season offering at Phoenix Theatre

Good Person of Setzuan

Nov. 8 to 24

Directed by Conrad Alexandrowicz.

Based on a Chinese parable, the Bertold Brecht play looks at being a good person in an immoral world – a tale originally set in 19th century Setzuan that remains transferrable to a modern-day, North American Chinatown, Alexandrowicz said

“It could be anywhere. In a lot of ways we’re in one big world now. Love is worked into this as well. The fact that love blinds us to what we ought to do and makes us make bad decisions, it’s incredibly cleverly put together.”

Reasons to be Pretty

Feb. 14 to 23

Directed by Christine Willes.

A recent import to Victoria since coming to pursue her M.F.A. in the department, Willes will be taking on the Neil LaBute piece, an examination of the modern obsession with external appearance told through four 20-something blue collar workers. It’s also a play with great writing for women, Willes said.

“There’s beauty with the kind of generosity that we all admire in human beings, like kindness and generosity and ethics,” she added. “We’re constantly reminded that somebody can be externally beautiful and not so nice on the inside.”

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised)

March 14 to 23

Directed by Fran Gebhard.

Gebhard and her students couldn’t be happier about closing the season with the Peanuts crew.

“The theatre department doesn’t do musicals often and the students are ecstatic,” Gebhard said.

The show features an unusually musically-inclined cast.

“I don’t have to bring anything new to it. The characters are so iconic and the relationships, even though (they were formed) in the ‘50s and ‘60s, they’re still the same with young kids. There are elements of bullying, confidence, being a part of a group, being excluded from a group … having crushes – all of the stuff we went through doesn’t change.”

Tickets for all shows (except for Charlie Brown) range from $13 to $24, with $7 preview nights. Season subscriptions are $36 for three plays or $48 for four plays.

For more information to to phoenixtheatre.ca or call 250-721-8000.

 

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