Skip to content

Fringe review: Canadian history in iambic pentameter

Packing the wacky story of B.C's second premier into a one-hour musical? Can it be done? It's Fringe, of course it can!
Edmonton's Cody Porter shares a mouthful in this on hour almost solo, yet mutli-character piece on some little known Canadian history! Photo supplied.

Amor De Cosmos: A Delusional Musical

Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre

8426 Gateway Blvd.

4 stars

There are some impressive credentials behind Amor De Cosmos; A Delusional Musical. The solo comedic musical written in iambic pentameter has a book by Richard Kelly Kemick (A Writers' Guild of Alberta award winner) and music and lyrics by award-winning Edmonton musician Lindsey Walker. Let's not forget the onstage talents of Cody Porter (Fringe Sterling Nominee) who does a hot 60-minutes of little known Canadian history (a feat in itself, as the piece was originally seen in Toronto as a 90-minute original musical). 

It's a little dizzying, but in an engaging way, watching Porter embody the top-hat-wearing Canadians of John A. Macdonald's day; Canada in the 1860s and more specifically, the obscure but infamous and contentious story of British Columbia's second premier, Amor de Cosmos (born William Alexander Smith). History tells us the liberal reformer argued passionately an end to economic and political privileges, and — above all — the institution of responsible government through an elected assembly.

The audience has to listen closely to keep up, but the tale shows how, in just a handful of years, De Cosmos went from being called BC's own Father of Confederation to being declared legally insane and haunting Victoria taverns before dying in bankrupt obscurity. Whew!

Porter brings the crazy, as required, pacing the stage, sweatily changing hats (literally) from character to character to show how an iconoclastic reformer mutates into a conniving member of the political elite of his day. Lindsay Walker brings the music, hat tossing, applause signs and newspaper-reading to great effect too.

History buffs, c'mon! What are you waiting for? Get to the venue for a political lesson you won't forget!