Tonight! Death Ray Cabaret at the Bad Dog Theatre

It's a Friday night, and I'm in the middle of another interview. I've just asked a question about the creative process, and a performer is giving me a thoughtful answer. Immediately to my left, and very tall, skinny man is changing into a skin-tight, purple leotard with a bright yellow cape.

Welcome to the world of Death Ray Cabaret.

The offbeat sketch troupe is back tonight with another foray into the weird and hilarious. As always, Death Ray Cabaret aims to inject a little absurdity into Toronto's comedy scene.

"It's comedy from outside the box," says troupe member Kevin Matviw.

Death Ray Cabaret performed their first show if September 2006. Founded by Matviw and writer Dave Brock, the troupe has added new members and this month features special guest and TO comedy stalwart Carmine Lucarelli. But they remain committed to a few basic principles: audience engagment, excitement and unpredictability. Death Ray Cabaret fuses theatre and comedy into an absurdist mix, breathing a little fresh air into a crowded sketch scene.

"Dimensions shift and people turn into weird things," says Death Ray member Alastair Forbes. "A lot of sketch comedy is afraid to leave 'reality'. We'll go anywhere and do anything."

Death Ray Cabaret is one of many talented groups and shows to emerge from the fertile comedic soil of the Bad Dog Theatre. But Death Ray has drawn more than talent from the Bad Dog.

"For us, Bad Dog is our core place. It's a community, a home," says Matviw.

And community is an important part of Death Ray Cabaret's creative process. Each troupe member brings ideas to rehearsal, and the group creates their sketches collectively. The audience also plays an important role in each show's creation- many bits start their lives as improvised scenes directed by suggestions from the crowd. While the format of the Death Ray show is constantly evolving, each performance has about 45 minutes of sketch and 25 minutes of improv.

Death Ray Cabaret are weird, they're funny, and they're performing tonight at the Bad Dog Theatre. Tickets are $10...but if you know the secret password (hint: it's "secret password"), you and a friend will get in 2-for-1. More information can be found at Myspace.com/deathraycabaret

Photo: Kevin Matviw and Alastair Forbes. Courtesy of Death Ray Cabaret


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