Last Friday, October 30, I had the pleasure of attending my first live performance at Theatre on King in Peterborough’s downtown core, just west of George Street.
Director, writer, and producer Andrew Root’s first live production entitled “Crime City” was the feature of the night. This live show was originally intended to be a podcast but soon evolved into something much more.
“Crime City” is Root’s first performance that he has written, which has actually come to fruition up on the stage, so I thought it prudent to ask him, on behalf of all aspiring writers, what set “Crime City” apart from other projects that he has worked on.
“I’ve done a lot of stop and start projects, usually stop, but this is the first one that I have really seen through and been passionate about. Plus, I’m actually using my English degree for once, which is nice. I thought I might as well use all this knowledge of story structure for something, right?” Root shared.
This highly entertaining live performance, complete with impromptu but detailed costumes supplied by the actors themselves, and a splash of improvisation, gave this show a hilarious edge that had the audience howling with laughter on more than one occasion.
“We only saw the script about half an hour before the show began,” said Dan Smith, who portrays the ‘50s-style radio anchor and has been involved with the theatre community in Peterborough for many years now. “We had time to read through to about the half-way point, but we all trust Andrew not to leave us hanging with some awful thing to say.”
Mike Judson, who plays Victor Marshall, the unlikely hero of “Crime City”, spoke about how his initial experience with acting in a live performance differed from being in front of the camera on Peterborough’s own Chex Television.
“When I’m in front of the camera doing the weather or something, I am without scripts or prompters so I am a little more comfortable with the improv, but the acting makes me a little nervous because there are lines, and things I have to do. I’m being a character, but it’s always something that I wanted to try and now I’m hooked,” said Judson.
Kenn Gibb plays Brab Bramble, Victor Marshall’s trusty sidekick and “Adventure Scout” extraordinaire, who is a “wet behind the ears trusty and lovable sidekick, and the one character that actually wants to do some good in ‘Crime City’ because he hasn’t been corrupted yet.”
In speaking with the cast and crew of the performance, I came to realize how much behind-the-scenes work was involved on production night, even for something like “Crime City” with seemingly little prep work.
“We have one crew member named Melissa Post and she does sound effects for us, she is a TASS [Thomas A. Stewart Secondary] student. She just turned sixteen and I have to say, I didn’t realize sixteen-year-olds were so into radio drama, but she gets it. She gets the form and is in character as well, and is doing a great job,” said Root.
I took the time to ask Andrew and the crew what the next steps for “Crime City” were. Root says he plans on releasing at least ten episodes of “Crime City” and will see how they feel about it at that point.
“The growth plan is to sell out the Theatre on King again, then do two shows a night. If we can sell out two shows per night, then we will try and move it up to a bigger venue. Ryan Kerr at the Theatre on King has been very good to us, so if we can keep giving him business as well as more exposure to the theatre, that would be great. We have also considered taking the show on the road and entering it into some sort of sketch festival,” Root told Arthur.
You can check out the first and second episodes of “Crime City” on a number of different podcast platforms including Soundcloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and Blueberry. You can also catch the live performance for Episode 3 at the Theatre on King on November 18 at 9:30PM.