Rubaboo means stew: This stew is bland

publicity photo for Rubaboo

Cimmeron Meyer’s set design is one of Rubaboo’s strongest elements.
(Robert Walsh, Andrea Menard, and Karen Shepherd in a photo by Dahlia Katz)

Artistically, Rubaboo is mostly terrible.

But there’s no denying the project’s good intentions. Core creator Andrea Menard, who also stars in this cabaret performance, has set out to explore the history and wisdom of her Métis culture. She’s aiming for truth and reconciliation. All power to her on that front.

And the evening, which ran about an hour and forty minutes the night I saw it, contains one song that really hits home. It’s about residential schools: the abuse, the discovery of the  unmarked graves of over 3,000 children in Canada, and, by implication, the staggering impact of systemic racism. Menard delivers this song with passion and zero sentimentality. It’s a gut punch.

But, for 90% of the show’s running time, the undeniably important thematic content of Rubaboo is appallingly badly rendered.

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