They definitely deserve it – I went to see Altar Boyz at the Prairie Theatre Exchange over the weekend, and I spent the full hour and a half laughing. If the show name sounds familiar, it’s probably because it was in Winnipeg as a huge hit of the 2009 Fringe festival. The show is a pop musical comedy that puts you in the audience of the final “Raise the Praise” tour stop of the Altar Boyz, a Christian boy band. It’s a playful look at the 90s boy band phenomenon starring the five Boyz – Matthew (the leader), Mark (the sensitive one), Luke (the bad boy), Juan (the heartthrob), and Abraham (the actually-talented-guy). They come with a Soul Sensor that counts down how many ‘burdened souls’ are in the audience – and Winnipeg apparently has a lot of mischievous sinners out there – and see how many they can free up before the end of the show.
The bubblegum pop songs are catchy, but make sure you listen to the lyrics closely – the Altar Boyz aren’t all that reverent and they’re full of innuendo and sly, but never mean, jokes. My personal favourite was the story of the founding of the Altar Boyz where they were graced with the commandments of successful boybandhood (eg. Thou shalt anoint thy hair with product and array thyself in pleather…)
The Boyz aren’t just paying lip service to this being a concert – these guys can sing AND dance. The whole show is choreographed with bouncy dance moves that had me exhausted just watching them. They definitely do their cardio! I was a little nervous when they started pulling people up on stage (I wasn’t picked, whew) but I started to regret it a little by the time it was done – they looked like they were having lots of fun.
Final word – it’s bubblegummy fun with just enough bite to keep you laughing, I’d definitely recommend it. The show runs until March 11th, and ticket prices and showtimes can be found on the PTE website
Side note: If you haven’t been to the PTE in a while, you should take a walk up to check it out – the lobby was renovated last year and has been totally transformed.