Toast of the Town … A night of local story telling and so much more

Stupor publisher Steve Hughes (left) poses with the actors and director of a recent production at Planet Ant Hall of his collected stories. Photo supplied by Planet Ant Hall.

By Alan Madlane
Toast of the Town found our way to Planet Ant’s Ant Hall this past Saturday for a low-key short evening of oddball amusement.
Local writer and ‘zine scribe/publisher Steve Hughes, he of “Stupor” ‘zine fame, was on hand, overseeing a sort of monolog or Moth-storytelling style evening of some of his greatest collection of short story hits from various writers.
Ten actors plied the various tales. Most of the tales were brief. Props to them for being off-book, although in one or two places it got a little touch-and-go for a second here or there.
Which, really, just added to the overall lo-fi vibe charm of the evening.
What Toast really missed were some title intros, either by signage (title cards silently walked across the stage, like boxing ring round markers or silent movie chapter bumper cards) or by bellowed announcement, for all we cared.
See, the titles were half of the draw on the intrigue meter.
Being interpreted from stories with titles like “The Slobber of Lava and American Cheese” (is it a Primus song?!), “My Sister’s Nipples” and “Spits Out a Wasp,” Stupor’s tales — often created from out of the inspirations of overheard bar conversations and the like – deserve as much.
At just over a brisk hour, the show certainly didn’t overstay its welcome. As with most variety shows, which this essentially was, it ran hit or miss, with some bits landing well and others engendering but a shrug.
But we were glad we came – and we always enjoy the space, which, unlike the Ant’s former black box (which we REALLY liked), is now a more-formal stage reminiscent of a small high school auditorium’s, but – and this is critical – with a good sound-and-light set-up, and an on-site bar.
So kudos to Hughes and his merry troupe of interpreters for giving us something well-outside the box.
It’s good to know some artists are still willing to reside there, however briefly.

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Posted March 31, 2023

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