Critic in residence Hayley Malouin writes,

Things that grow in the soil: carrots; leeks; potatoes; brilliantly unique homegrown festivals! Playing Sunday night at the Mikado, Suitcase In Point’s appropriately titled The Dirty Cabaret III brought the 2014 In The Soil Arts Festival to a close. Stuffed full of raunchy jokes – some subtle and some hysterically obvious – the show and dance party that followed felt how the entire weekend did: creative, spirited, and full of great talent.

First, massive kudos to Suitcase In Point for a wicked festival. The audience Sunday night wasn’t only applauding their performance on that little wooden stage – they were cheering for all the genius, talent, and hard work that went into making this artistically robust project. It was a job goddamn well done.

Second, SIP once again demonstrated why they are one of the leaders in art and innovation in St. Catharines. While the sketch comedy-cum-cabaret format isn’t unique to SIP, their particular brand of kooky is refreshingly bizarre and satisfyingly smart. The troupe has a subtle way of making their audiences feel in on the joke; Cabaret isn’t so much a show as a bunch of friends playing make-believe in front of others. It’s entertaining to watch people having fun, and that’s exactly what SIP did.

The Dirty Cabaret also illustrated the comradeship among artists that In The Soil encourages. Halfway through the show, artistic director Deanna Jones called up a few of the out-of-town artists to share their ‘dirty bits.’ Rob Feetham – The Other Houdini – performed a peculiar type of goat mating dance in furry pants, and Debajehmujig Theatre Group told the story of Balls Falls and Laura Secord’s “Canal” (yes, it’s exactly what you think).

The show felt like an ending montage; a highlights real of the weekend on hyper-speed, and riddled with sex jokes and scatological humour (the RPoo-3Poo droid was a personal favourite). The show was quick, dirty, and action-packed. But at times it did feel sloppy, and some serious fat needed to be trimmed around the edges. Jokes dragged and entrances felt unsure. The audience was determined to stay onboard throughout, but that determination felt a wee bit tested on occasion.

But I dare anyone to try organizing a massive arts festival and executing a flawless production all in the span of one weekend. No easy feat, eh? The unrehearsed feeling of Cabaret didn’t detract from how much fun it was, and it’s clear that SIP are a bunch of extremely talented actors and comedians. Nick and I had a blast at the show, and made sure to stay for DJ Dave Stiles’ killer dance party.

I can’t think of a better way to end a weekend of such incredible creation and artistic achievement than with a big ol’ party. Suitcase In Point took centre stage, but the warm atmosphere and good vibes encompassed everyone there – artists, organizers, and spectators alike. I so dug it.

For more information on Suitcase In Point, visit their website:

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