After a long day composing bon mots in the word mines at Fab
, crushed and demoralized from toiling beneath the lash of my evil editor overlords, I wandered into the Lower Ossington Theatre hoping for succour. I found myself, somehow, at a late-’50s prom, in a room filled with red table cloths, candles and cheery, dimly lit faces. The Marvelous Wonderettes, the girls providing the entertainment for the evening, took to the stage and performed all the great hits of that era. They couldn’t help but give us a glimpse of their personal lives between songs, their joys and worries all reminiscent of malt shoppes and jukeboxes and Happy Days
. Then, once again, I mysteriously found myself in another era. It was the late ’60s, and the Marvelous Wonderettes were entertaining the crowd at their 10th annual high-school reunion. Their troubles and triumphs had aged them; news about marriages, pregnancies,and careers leaked out between ’60s tunes.
I was there, besides searching for a distraction from my woes, to review a play called The Marvelous Wonderettes
. The plot is pretty minimal, merely there to take you from song to song, but that’s fine because the songs are fantastic! The four young women sing perfectly, in a way reminiscent of the best-known recordings of each song. The show is a bit cheesy, but its awareness of its own cheesiness generates charm and a great deal of humour.
The threat of audience participation always tightens my sphincter into non-existence, but certain ongoing audience-related gags — including one related to the song “Mr Lee”—evoked much applause and whistling. When I finally stumbled back outside it was with a goofy smirk on my face, and the snow, lights and revelry of Ossington Avenue all seemed a lot more jovial.
The Marvelous Wonderettes runs till Sun, Feb 10 at the Lower Ossington Theatre, 100 Ossington Ave. lowerossingtontheatre.com