Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer: The Musical, a hilariously tragic triumph

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As the immortal rhyme of Hamlet says, “The play is the thing / In which I will catch the king’s conscience.”


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Using the power of armed acting, in other words, the Great Dane hopes to catch some sign that King Claudius killed his father by showing him something similar on stage.

And it makes you wonder, hardly, what Prime Minister Jason Kenney would think of the Grindstone Theater’s crafty satire of where Alberta is since his inner van beeped toward the podium on victory night, since now, only a couple years later, it is the lowest … Electoral Prime Minister of the pandemic in the country, about to deal with an internal revolution.

But instead of a Twitter-style takedown of Kenney, the superbly executed on Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer: The Musical (which runs at least November 21 at Campus Saint-Jean) is that his writers Byron Martin and Simon Abbott They took a strange kind of strange road. They make Kenney the hero, caught between backstabbing political adversaries, friends of justice, and just wanting to please. Thanks to the explosion of Donovan Workun, but also a very lovable, high-octane portrayal, we’re actually cheering for Kenney all the time, which makes the reality of our current political situation even sadder, really.


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On this multiverse pleasure trip, it’s 1983 and Kenney de Workun has just suspiciously won the title of Summer Session Student Union President at the University of Alberta, which has former president Rachel Notley (Stephanie Wolfe) at the helm. steam, sometimes even moaning on the floor and seeking revenge.

The fact that this is all happening within a really well done, curse-laden song cycle with shades of Hair, West Side Story, and even Jesus Christ Superstar should be remembered at all times. Try snapping your fingers while reading, maybe?

Things get pretty hot at UCπ's frat in Jason Kenney's Hot Boy Summer: The Musical.
Things get pretty hot at UCπ’s frat in Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer: The Musical. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia

Kenney is a member of the Upsilon Cappa Pi fraternity, with a dart board and Margaret Thatcher poster (and a well-oiled shirtless cowboy) on the back wall. The king of UCπ’s personality is the popular blonde-afro jock Tyler Shandro, if not quite the real thing, a handsome and eventual Judas for history played by the perfect singer Mark Sinongco in Adidas tube socks.


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Tyra Banda also nails it as a boisterous Kaycee Madu and, only briefly, a familiar jazz nerdy NDP sentiment.

Claire Theobald needs a special nod here for her costumes, especially Kenney’s varsity jacket with its sparkly UCπ on the back, the slanted frat hat, and everything to do with acid wash jeans and campus party girl Tracy’s Hawaiian shirt. Allard. Aloha!

Hilariously, the deposed Notley is deliberately dating Justin Trudeau, the dean’s son who is particularly angry at Kenney who has been diverting school funds to parties and away from his beloved drama club. “I’m sure you would have made a wonderful Othello,” says Notley de Wolfe, expecting and definitely getting the “OMG” laugh.

Malachi Wilkins, who plays both Justin and his father dean, is easily the funniest and honestly note-perfect performance here, his ragged, halting, articulate but ummming breathing over a floating ballet body control, and some of the biggest laughs. they come. when he seems to forget if he’s playing Justin or bald Pierre.


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Stephanie Wolfe as Rachel Notley and Malachi Wilkins as Justin Trudeau in Jason Kenney's Hot Boy Summer: The Musical.
Stephanie Wolfe as Rachel Notley and Malachi Wilkins as Justin Trudeau in Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer: The Musical. Photo by Fish Griwkowsky /Postmedia

But the heartfelt and heartfelt core of the play lies between Kenney, trying, against ever increasing odds, to throw the best barrel rodeo party ever, and the drab Deena Hinshaw (Abby Vandenburghe), a library nerd. who was left behind whose songs about diseases and symptoms is pure Mary Poppins.

Both outcasts, the tension in their friendship will actually make their throats lump when cool boy Shandro makes Kenney choose between their worlds, and the scene of Hinshaw explaining chemistry to Kenney is beautiful.

“Wow, I didn’t even know science was real!” she proclaims happily as she breaks down to explain how alcohol works.

Right at the end of Act 1, a mononucleosis outbreak, thanks to Tracy’s trip to Hawaii, turns this 80s college movie into a disaster movie, all the more ugly because Notley helped spread the infection at a party to wrap up. with his adversary. The later scene of Dean Trudeau forcing Kenney to shut down and cancel the rodeo has obvious parallels in reality, and when everyone on stage starts coughing and getting sick, you really notice how crazy this all is, both the musical and the reality, and the In fact, we’re looking at it as a comedy.


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I’ve seen a lot of works within works, in Hamlet, a Thor movie, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Game of Thrones. But never one so close to reality, the outer play, the political theater we live in, full of weak acting, bad actors, and terrible dramas, and of course, it’s not really a play.

And this, in essence, is why Hot Boy Summer: The Musical, with breathtakingly catchy songs and expertly improvised recordings on forgotten lines, is such a gigantic hit. It shows us how full of humanity the last 19 months should have been, while also making us hesitate to leave the theater at the end, where much of the humor has almost been twisted and rotten.


Jason Kenney’s Hot Boy Summer: The Musical

Where Auditorium (Room 1-08) at Campus Saint-Jean, 8406 91 St.

When November 10-21 at 7 pm, November 14 and 21 at 2:30 pm (all sold out); transmission until Monday, November 22, details to be confirmed

Tickets $ 30 (out of stock) at grindstonetheatre.ca

[email protected]




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