The Arts Club has been right on the mark with their musical productions this season, and Altar Boyz is no exception. Previews began tonight and continue until opening night on June 24th.
I wasn’t familiar with the show before tonight but was quickly taken in by the clever spoofing of boy bands and Christian music. The plot does play a little thin at times but the enthusiastic audience was far too busy laughing to notice.
Matthew (Jeremy Crittenden), Mark (David Hurwitz), Luke (Jak Barradell), Juan (Vincent Tong), and Abraham (Geoff Stevens) dance and sing as a well-oiled machine with a mission to save souls. Commanded by the Lord to gel their hair with product and gird their loins with pleather lest they skew to the detestable older demographic, the Altar Boyz are on the final show of their “Raise the Praise” concert tour.
The entire quintet of actors shines in each of their respective roles as teen heartthrobs, but I have to single out Tong for his acrobatics, both literal and vocal. He was also extremely memorable last Christmas as LeFou in Beauty and the Beast (Arts Club).
Choreographer Sara-Jeanne Hosie (currently playing Fantine in Les Misérables) pays homage to the most memorable of cheesy boy band dance moves. The Boyz’ dancing is crisp, clean and often downright hilarious.
I have to confess that I attended several boy band concerts in the late 90s, and I saw more than a few evocations of classic Backstreet Boys and *NSync steps on the Granville Island stage tonight.
Some of the lines delivered could use a little tightening, but the preview performance was divine and hopefully I’ll be back after the opening to see how the show improves. It’s looking like Director Bill Millerd is going to have yet another hit on his hands.
Running at 90 minutes with no intermission, Altar Boyz runs until August 1st at the Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston Street).