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Rob Ford The Musical – Wishes The Mayor Well – Review

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Rob Ford The Musical – Wishes The Mayor Well  – Review

rob ford the musical

Where: Factory Theatre – Toronto, ON
When: Sept 18, 2014 (on going until Sept 28 as of the date of this post)
Running Time: 90mins (no intermission)
Price: $35 + fees and taxes – TICKETS



Well as the saying goes “The show must go on!”

Rob Ford the musical Toronto’s newest show opened to a sold out crowd tonight at Factory Theatre in downtown Toronto.

Earlier this week mayor Rob Ford was diagnosed with liposarcoma cancer in his abdomen , which prompted questions as to whether or not the show would go on and how the organizers would handle it.

A subtle yet respectful tribute to Ford was given towards the end of the musical.   A sign that read ” Get Well Rob” was raised by one of the cast members at the end of the show during a standing ovation and staff asked for donations for the Canadian Cancer Society at the doors upon exit.  This was a true display of class for what can be considered a controversial and at times raunchy display of theatre.

“We wanted to be as respectful as can be under these circumstances  so we reached out to the cancer society and they accepted.” said writer/producer – Brett McCaig.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, we would love for them to come and see the show.” -  sent out from the cast and crew.

Although some of the jokes can seem borderline tasteful at times, the sheer talent and delivery of the piece is par for the course given the history of the individual in which the play represents.

Our self admitted crack smoking, alcoholic mayor, played by Sheldon Bergstrom,  has been the butt of jokes for comics and media critics for quite some time, reaching epic proportions on a global scale through American late night television.

For better of for worse, Rob Ford The Musical, tells it like it is.   Rest assured this is a no holds barred 18+ plus event, although no age limit has been officially been put in place by the theatre or organizers.

The “F” word can be heard atleast 8 times throughout, but in every single instance it is placed in a seamless rhyme scheme or set to a comical musical number.   At one point it can also be heard from Lisa Horner who plays Margaret Atwood.

Horner (Atwood) is actually one of the pleasantly unexpected highlights of the play.   Some of the funniest bits come from her including a reference to the Black Eyed Peas hit song “My Humps”  and how she is sexually attracted to Quinoa (the South American grain crop from the Andes).  During her solo piece, she brings a velvety voice to the fore front acting out probably the most touching song of the night.    There are tones reminiscent of Mme Thenardier (Les Miserable) which Horner has played in the past.

Bergstrom (Ford) is exceptional throughout as are his co -stars Justin Bott (Doug Ford) and Andrew Broderick who plays (Transgression)  his transvestite guardian angel.

Toronto is poked fun of at times, but few can argue that the stereotypes are somewhat true. One of the best quotes of the night was when Transgression said:

“Toronto is like a fat white girl at Caribana she thinks she’s hot but at the end of the day she’s just full of dicks”

There is the occasional “pussy joke” and references to Ford’s many momentary lacks of reason including:

languages he doesn’t understand (such as the Jamaican dialect Patois) the TTC buses football fiasco, green peace, opposition to bike lanes and his total disregard for the gay community.

There is a wizard of OZ Dorothy/Toto (or the Fairy God Mother,  depending on how you interpret it) play between Ford and Transgression . Also the Tin Man/Ruby (Marisa McIntyre), the Lion/Chief (Sheldon Davis) and Scarecrow/Eddie (Daniel Greenberg) which represent , Ford’s lawyer Cayton Ruby, Chief of police Bill Blair of the Toronto Police and Toronto Star’s  Daniel Dale, respectively.

Transgression (Fairy God mother/Toto) could also be considered as Ford’s conscience as she is present in almost every scene but can only be seen by Ford himself and not his entourage.   It’s almost as though it’s his addiction talking to him at times, as he twitches and yells at her saying outlandish things in front of other characters in the play.  It’s as though Ford is living in his own universe as his brother repeatedly attempts to handle his PR and write his speeches which Ford stubbornly refuses to follow. He cannot seem to tell the difference between fiction and reality, perhaps this is the producer’s sublet attempt to make some sort of explanation into Rod Ford’s psyche.

The facts and history are spot on and one should note that the script writers really did their homework here.

However, be prepared for some off setting jokes.    Princess Dianna is given a jab as are: Kurt Cobain, The City  Of Hamilton, The Vancouver City airport tazing incident and the shooting death of Sammy Yatim.

John Tory is mentioned as is Olivia Chow and the Chinese community several times. However, There are no clear political agendas and overall it’s all in good fun. The satirical humor is done in good taste but with a delivery that is not for the faint of heart.

The ticket price is certainly worth the experience and there are more surprises than we can giveaway, without a spoiler alert.

Rob Ford The Musical is a show that captures a moment in Canada’s political culture for better or worse .

A brilliant piece of original theatre that Toronto should embrace for years to come.

By: Darrell Shelley