Victoria Fringe Festival 2017 – Blown Away
Review by Chad Jarvie-Laidlaw – Showbill.ca Editorial Director
September 1, 2017
Imagine a madcap orchestra where the conductor conjures up rainstorms, jousting tournaments, and does death-defying stunts in order to deliver this all to you; Blown Away wants to be that show, but ultimately comes up short on execution.
Michael Armstrong is Mr. Wizowski, a “world renowned” conductor of presumably dubious competence. After briefly psyching himself up in a mirror, he takes to the stage and as he begins to conduct an invisible orchestra mishaps begin to take over. His imagination gets the better of him, and he winds up in various awkward situations, such as trying to conduct from atop a board rolling about on top of a pipe.
It’s tough, because it’s quite clear that Armstrong is a talented circus artist, and his circus feats are excellent. Fantastic balancing acts, phenomenal hoop work, some pretty darned impressive juggling; these are all done very well. The problem with Blown Away is the proverbial glue holding this all together. Armstrong’s character Mr. Wizowski is somewhere between a clown and a conductor, but doesn’t quite land on either. At no point are the stakes clear, and he comes off as someone flailing around, failing at conducting. Some rationalization as to why he has to call audience members on stage for an (exceptionally awkward) jousting match, or even just a well expressed character, would go a long way to making this a really good show.
Blown Away has got some of the coolest circus work to be performed on such a tiny stage, but the in-between bits leave much to be desired. While the highs of the show are pretty darned good, the lows will probably leave you grounded, not swept off your feet.
Mr. Wizowski Entertainment
Created by Michael Armstrong
Victoria Fringe Festival
Venue 6 (Fairfield Hall)
- Sept 1 @ 9:15pm
- Sept 2 @ 4:30pm