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Firebringer

Presented by Spark Call Productions

Credit: Jenn Downey

Aaron Kropf

“Anticipating what Spark Call Productions will bring to Saint John next time.”

Presented by Spark Call Productions, a new Saint John theatre company, Firebringer is a fun, campy, stone age musical about the discovery of fire created. First performed by StarKid Productions (best known for the Harry Potter parody A Very Potter Musical), ‘Firebringer’ is a collaboration with Nick Lang, Matt Land, and Brian Holden, credited for the Book; Meredith Stepien and Mark Swidersk, credited for music and lyrics and arrangement by Clark Baxtresser and Pierce Siebers.

‘Firebringer’ takes place at the dawn of the Stone Age, where we see the power struggle between the new tribe leader Jamilla (Jen Downey) and Zazzalil (Celeigh Lynne), a tribe member who wants more from life than work all day. Throughout the show, Jamilla leaves the tribe, leaving them to Zazzalil’s lackadaisical leadership. In true musical theatre fashion, Jamilla is called back to the tribe to help save the day, but it can only be done when she and Zazzalil work together to defeat Snarl.

All of this is told to the audience by the former leader Molag (Meghan McCracken). One quibble. From where I was sitting in the house, it was difficult to see McCracken throughout much of the production as she stood on the floor far too much.

This female-dominated production allowed many wonderful women performers in Saint John and the surrounding area to showcase the incredible talent we have in our backyard. It’s a light and fluffy production, yet there are some staging issues that could be examined again in future. They aren’t a huge distraction and shouldn’t stop anyone from going to see this first show.

However, with so many involved, the creative team could have done some trimming as there are moments making the show outstay its welcome.

The show has several songs that help move the story forward, but few are all that memorable. The notable numbers include ‘We Got Work To Do," one of the first memes to spread across the internet during the early days of social media. “Just a Taste” is a lovely duet between Emberly (Andrea Paddock) and Grunt (Dino Andriani). ‘Chorn’ is a Celine Dion-style song wonderfully performed by Meredith Ferris as Chorn.

A few standouts are Jen Downey as Jemilla, Celeigh Lynne as Zazzalil and Meredith Ferris as Chorn (whose final number near the show's end was marvellous).

Don’t miss the last opportunity to see the show on Saturday, February 24. It’s an entertaining evening for anyone over the age of 16; there is a lot of language that doesn’t make Firebringer a family show.

Final performance at the Sanctuary Theatre, 228 Germain Street.

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