By Bren Carruthers
Drawing its name from the mangled, censored phrases in various versions of the 1973 film The Exorcist, Your Mother Chucks Rocks And Shells is a twisted descent into insomnia and nightmares in the desperate pursuit of sleep. Ange Lavoipierre whips through a fever dream narrative littered with internet searches, ASMR recordings, and of course the omnipresent horror film and its various characters.
Directed by Josh Glanc – a dab hand at surreal performances himself – the show lays more to the side of absurdist theatre than the more laugh-inducing comedy that most MICF patrons would be accustomed to or be expecting. Perhaps this is highlighted no better than in comparing Your Mother Chucks Rocks and Shells to Lavoipierre’s other show from earlier in the festival, the positively raucous but no less ridiculous Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood alongside Jane Watt. It is a real testament to Lavoipierre’s many talents and range, but also a potential hurdle in locking down a devoted audience.
There are some moments of levity; the dialogue-free opener is a treat, and interactions with “the Internet” (voiced by Jane Watt) provide genuine laughs. But a lack of coherent structure prevents the show from ever reaching its true potential. In fairness, the show’s flow and reflexivity are both masterful and delightful, unfurling and refolding upon itself in a way only deeply unsettled sleep seems to elicit. But it seems The Exorcist can’t support the weight of being the show’s primary thematic thread, and even with some on-stage retelling of the film, having more than a passing familiarity with The Exorcist is a virtual must. A broader audience will struggle to grasp Your Mother Chucks Rocks And Shells – this show is one for the horror fans and those with a taste for the absurd.
Ange Lavoipierre’s Your Mother Chucks Rocks And Shells is on at The Butterfly Club until April 23.