Locals team up for a
humorous look at the pandemic
Four Anglos Surviving the COVID Apocalypse brings droves back to live theatre
By Byron Toben
As the Montreal area slowly creeps back to live theatre, it received a major boost with the presentation of another Four Anglos special.
I say “another” since it has been some 14 years since the last one, Four Anglos of the Apocalypse. Like the current one, Four Anglos Surviving the COVID Apocalypse, it opened at the Theatre Lac-Brome in Knowlton. The 2006 show then transferred to the larger Montreal venue of the Centaur Theatre, and the current show to the spacious St. Jax Church and community centre.
The four Anglos referred to all have high name recognition in Quebec. They are:
Josh Freed, primarily known for his regular humorous columns in the Montreal Gazette, has also authored eight books, made several film documentaries and acted in a few stage appearances
Known for his witty and innovative cartoons in the Montreal Gazette, Terry Mosher‘s work is signed in his daughter’s name, Aislin. (This practice reminds me somewhat of the late great New York Times cartoonist Al Hirschfeld, who passed away at 100 in 2003. He always incorporated his daughter’s name, Nina, into his curvy lines.) Aislin cartoons can be found in 43 books, some solely his own compendiums, and others illustrating works by others. He is also active in cartoonist associations in Canada and internationally.
The duo singing under the name Bowser and Blue consists of George Bowser and Rick Blue (Richard Elger). Their clever, often irreverent lyrics have generated eight TV specials, 17 theatre shows and 43 discs across Canada. Based in Montreal, the UK-born Bowser and Canadian-born Blue joined forces in 1978 and are in constant demand.
The whole show was directed by actor/director Ellen David who as an actor has 28 films and over 55 TV shows to her credit plus several appearances on stage at both the Centaur and the Segal, as well as Infinitheatre. She was recently appointed Artistic Director of Theatre Lac-Brome.
This audience-friendly show moves along spritely with Josh reciting lines from his latest book (handshaking, masking, distancing, isolating and the like dealt with) while Terry, seated below a giant screen, flashes 100 relevant cartoons from 38 countries – the majority his own but the others courtesy of top artists that Terry has met through his international cartoonist activities. Donald Trump-related images and others provided a lot of guffaws.
At key moments, Bowser and Blue interject their relevant lyrics, accompanying themselves on guitar and harmonica. This blend of narration, caricature and music has it all to satisfy the live theatre starved audiences.
No Bowser and Blue clips from this show are available, but you can get the feel of their jolly rhythms from this Internet clip I’m Glad I Live in Canada.
Four Anglos: Surviving the COVID Apocalypse continues at the St. Jax until November 13.
Images: courtesy of Ellen David
Feature image: Bowser and Blue performing in Four Anglos: Surviving the COVID Apocalypse
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.