September 13, 2007 by Mario Landerman


A joyride full of chaos and laughter

What do the Rael Cult, the Joy of Cooking, UNICEF and Québec (and the world) most famous female singer?  That’s the question that Saving Céline attempts to answer.

Behind every great lady, there is a man.  Even Queen Elizabeth the first, who could be considered as the archetypal drag queen in many respects, had the Earl of Leicester lurking in the background.  Céline has René.  And Mado has Luc Provost.

Luc Provost, given his background at the UQAM theatre department, has the necessary credentials to play Céline.  But there is a problem.  You never forget for a minute that the character of Céline being played in front of the audience is, shall I say it?  Mado in drag.  A quite subdued drag; Mado has never wore less makeup in all her life!

That said, you quickly forget  that little quirk, to just sit back and enjoy the gags, which come from all directions at once.

The story of Saving Céline is one of a loser of a girl, who loves Céline Dion so much that she will try to imitate her in all respects, imitating her hairdo, her mannerisms, her walk, everything.  That girl lives in her own imaginary world, where celebs like Cher, Whitney Houston, and René Angélil evolve around her.

The multimedia play, conceived by playwright Mark Watty and directed by David Pellegrini, has about fifteen scenes, where hilarity abound.  On a big screen in the background of the stage, memorable moments from the real Céline Dion’s career appear, including her famous and impassioned Larry King speech regarding Katrina and New Orleans.

The multimedia support adds depth to many scenes which would have been rather bare without it.

My favorite scenes are, apart from the one just mentioned, the perfume scene at the Bay, which will probably bring a chuckle to anyone who had to cross the first floor at that department store.  There’s also the scene at the Stock bar, a well-known male dancer club in the village.  The tackiness of such a venue has been accurately represented, with even a bit of nudity to boot.  The Clonaid press conference’s clone is a hoot.  But taken in its entirety, there is rarely a dull moment in the play.

A solid cast ensemble consisting of Vance de Waele, Michael Kaneva, John Hastings, Mike Payette and Alexandra Valassis is supporting Mado.

 All of them play multiple roles, with the highlights being Mike Payette, in its interpretation of Whitney Houston, and John Hastings, as Dr. Panteas.

There are only two days left to see the play.  My advice?  Go see it!  It will cost less than a full night at a bar, and you’ll get to laugh more!

At the Mainline Theatre, 3997 St-Laurent,  29 august – 15 september. The play has a duration of about 80 minutes.

Tickets : 514-848-9696 or www.cshow.ca

Photos : Mario Landerman