Ross Manson and Co. prove you ain’t seen nothing yet in this revival of a performance piece that will leave you slack-jawed. The Four Horesemen Project is a multidisciplinary extravaganza featuring swirling animation and sonic hijinks. All of which is set to poetry.


To contribute to high culture—for better or worse—is probably the most important thing a collaborating art force can achieve. Experimental poetic trailblazers Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery and bpNichol may have taken themselves a bit too seriously during their reign of the 70s but Volcano Theatre takes the movement with a grain of salt.

A campy send-up of comedic theatre, The Four Horsemen Project is what happens when an artistic anarchist like Ross Manson teams up with dance phenom Kate Alton to pay homage to the Canadian poet slaves who raised more than a few eyebrows with stylized chant and chatter. In doing so they deliver some big laughs by underscoring the layers of pomp and pretense of the original bodies of work.

The final product, a multi-media, interdisciplinary hybrid of poetry, dance, and song embeds a perma-smile on your face for more than 70 minutes which is why it walked away with four 2007 Dora Awards.

The Four Horsemen Project is more fun than belly flopping on twelve inches of bubble rap due to its captivating design and striking originality. One could conclude that The Four Horsemen would have staged a show of similar appeal had technology been as easily accessible back then. Instead, it’s taken three decades for the right minds to come together and give their legacy the polish it deserves.

Performers Andrea Nann, Jennifer Dahl, Naok Murakoshi, and Graham McKelvie come across as third or fourth generation beat poets with their innate sense of pieces they perform in what’s best describes as a melodious orgy of sight and sound.

Saddle up for this one, The Four Horsemen Project rides out of town November 22.

Review by Steven Berketo


THE FOUR HORSEMEN PROJECT by Ross Manson and Kate Alton Nov. 6-22, 2014 YOUNG CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 50 Tank House Lane, Toronto TICKETS $25.00 $49.00 416-866-8666 CAST Andrea Nann, Jennifer Dahl, Naok Murakoshi, Graham McKelvie

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