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Anglo theatre: Alexandre Goyette and Anglesh Major’s «King Dave»: To Laval and Back

Dernière mise à jour : 7 avr.

by Yanik Comeau (Comunik Média / ZoneCulture)

King Dave, the solo play written by and starring Alexandre Goyette, has had quite a life since being created in Théâtre Prospero’s Salle intime 18 years ago. Goyette himself reprised the role at La Licorne before touring the province during the 2007-2008 season. The show then became an incredibly audacious, daring highwire act of a movie directed by Podz and released in 2016. A few years later, with the contribution of actor Anglesh Major, King Dave was recreated at Théâtre Duceppe with Dave becoming a young black Montrealer with a Haitian heritage. After Major’s impressive success closing the 2020-2021 season, the Duceppe production went on tour with Patrick Emmanuel Abellard grabbing the baton and running with it.

I didn’t get the chance to catch Anglesh Major and had not seen the original or the movie version starring Goyette before checking out Patrick Emmanuel Abellard when he circled back to Duceppe to end his tour in June 2022. When I did catch his electrifying performance in French, after having already admired his talent in Oren Safdie’s Gratitude at the MainLine, Guy Sprung’s Fight On ! with Infinithéâtre and Jean-Philippe Baril-Guérard’s Manuel de la vie sauvage at Duceppe, I was already a fan but didn’t feel I was overstating when I titled my review: «Patrick Emmanuel Abellard brillant!»

I really wasn’t. But it’s hard not to be even more impressed by the fact that this talented, charismatic, charming actor has not only managed to recreate the show once again in English but he’s translated and adapted the play himself. One would half expect said translation to be a bit wobbly and clumsy but Abellard turns out to be as good a translator as he is an actor. And speaking of his acting, his interpretation of main character David Joseph is mind-blowing enough but his incredible ability to jump from one character to the next, playing the character’s mom, best friend Paco, gang leader Fix, girlfriend Nat, hookup Isa,… switching from English, to French, to a thuggish African-American accent, to Haitian Creole to a Latino accent is absolutely stupendous, each character taking full possession of the actor’s body even just for a few seconds at a time. For over an hour and forty minutes, Abellard takes command of the Centaur stage – much more intimate and appropriate for a communion with the audience – and gives it everything he has.

Christian Fortin has directed all productions of King Dave and clearly has an almost magical affinity with the material. After establishing a partnership with Theatre du Nouveau Monde’s Lorraine Pintal where she directed the world premiere production of Michel Marc Bouchard’s Embrasse (and Centaur’s English version Kisses Deep which was cancelled because of the pandemic but that we will hopefully finally get to see next season) and with Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui’s Sylvain Bélanger for Laurence Dauphinais’ Cyclorama earlier this season, Eda Holmes' partnership with Duceppe Artistic Directors Jean-Simon Traversy and David Laurin is clearly another win for Montreal’s two solitudes getting closer.

Patrick Emmanuel Abellard’s electrifying tour de force performance in King Dave is an incredible shot in the arm to end the Centaur Theatre season. Run, don’t walk.

King Dave by Alexandre Goyette adapted with the collaboration of Anglesh Major

Translation: Patrick Emmanuel Abellard

Directed by Christian Fortin

Assistant Director: Vlad Alexis

Stage Manager: Mélanie St-Jacques

Apprentice Stage Manager : Brianna Bagshaw-Stocks

Starring Patrick Emmanuel Abellard

Set and Costume Designer: Xavier Mary

Lighting Designer: Renaud Pettigrew

Composer & Sound Designer: Jenny Salgado

A Théâtre Duceppe/Centaur Theatre Company coproduction

From March 28th to April 16th, 2023 (duration: 1h40 no intermission)

Centaur Theatre, 453, rue Saint-François-Xavier, Vieux-Montréal

Reservations: 514-288-3161


Photos: Andrée Lanthier

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