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Oblong And Oboe Brings an Infectious Bundle of Exhilarating Joy back to the stage

By Ezekiel McAdams

May 10 2024

Oblong and Oboe Stir The Pot Poster.jpg

Live Five’s final production of its twentieth season, Oblong & Oboe Stir the Pot ends in a ray of levity, laughter and clowns with a message wrapped inside.


  It stars Charlie Peters and Jalisa Gonie as the clown duo, Oblong and Oboe. Also starring Ashleigh Hicks as the Rabble and directed by Johanna Arnott.


  The clown show runs from May ninth to nineteenth at The Refinery in Saskatoon.


  The premise is a play within a play. Oblong and Oboe are royals. They enact their own dialect, a form of gibberish. The show breaks the fourth wall and encourages and engages the audience. At the risk of breaking the magic on display, any more detail is akin to a magician never revealing the trick. The audience will have to discover the rest on their own.


  Peters is electric, dynamic and commanding, lording over both the characters within the play and the audience itself. Effortlessly switching from storyteller mode, to the character of Oblong and being able to take reactions from the audience and incorporate if necessary.


  Gonie is a surprising standout being so infectious in her sincerity, loyalty and quest for friendship. Throughout the show, her childlike wonder, naiveté and curiosity anchors the production.


  Hicks, plays multiple roles from the Rabble but it’s best to maintain some of the mystery and theatre magic throughout the show. One of the characters, the stage manager of the play with in a play is both put upon but relatable as they awkwardly bumbles after the clown duo but also falls into a stand-in for the audience. Hicks, is less of a third wheel and more of an extra wheel that keeps the show on track and adds extra magic.


  The direction by Arnott is majestic in balancing genres from clown show, comedy, drama, utilizing meta style and exploring contextualization. All of this could feel forced in lesser hands but the production is confident in not only dropping the audience into this world but asking them to play along. Arnott also was production stage manager..


  There were instances where a music interlude was just as much a character as the ones performing on stage.


  There were times in the opening performance where audience member’s reaction influenced the performance, such as stirring provided props or when a patron inquired about food that was passed along “Is it gluten free?” that made this show something exhilarating in a way where theatre is usually more restrained and utilizes its provided template for the genre on stage.

  The dramaturge by Jacqueline Russell was very tight as it balanced so much of the meta narrative, comedy and all the nuances so succinctly.


  The sound design by Amanda Trapp was pitch perfect as the musical interludes, misc sounds was perfectly placed and added an extra layer to the magical ambience on stage.


  Collectively, the design and the rehearsal stage managing from Brooklyn Bitner and the clown and creative consultants added to the magic ingrained in the production.


  The clown consultants are Saskatoon actor and clown, Alyssa Billingsley. As well as John Turner, teacher and clown and half of  the duo Mump and Smoot, Turner founded The Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance. While now closed, the work has moved to

  Oblong & Oboe Stir the Pot is an attraction that may never grace Saskatoon theatre stages ever again. This is a ride that is worth the price of admission in not only being joyfully infectious but hilarious as you never know what’s going to happen and neither does the performers.


  Live Five closes its twentieth season with a warm fuzzy and love letter to theatre populated with clowns that ends strongly and makes you long for more.  


  Oblong & Oboe Stir The Pot runs from May 9th to the 19th at The Refinery in Saskatoon. Tickets can be bought online through On The Boards Staging Company or at the box office.

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