Morro and Jasp: Save The Date, at the 2020 Next Stage Festival, was my first-ever experience of this beloved, iconic duo. They’ve been there on the periphery of my theatre adventures for so long, and it seems truly bizarre just how often I’ve missed them. But not this time! And they are, no question, a true delight!
I had some idea what to expect, of course; their reputation is an electrical charge buzzing through the Toronto theatre scene. I did not expect, however, to be so completely swept off my feet by their quirky dynamic, nor was I prepared for the show’s big, squishy heart.
Morro (Heather Marie Annis) and Jasp (Amy Lee), clown sisters and roommates, find themselves at odds when Jasp gets engaged. We never meet her fiancé, he’s just a “Going to the Chapel” ringtone on her phone and not a concern of ours. Her relationship to Morro is on the line, though, and that is very much our concern!
What follows, in a nutshell, is lots of goofy wedding prep, a hilarious drunken bachelorette party—where some lucky(?) audience members join in the revelry, and a truly heartwarming finale.
Thematically, there is a great through-line about life changes—the need to re-evaluate and re-invent your relationships as you grow and develop. Morro spends most of the show worried about losing Jasp once she gets swallowed up by married life.
As Jasp’s official maid of honour, Morro’s been tasked with designing a veil for the ceremony. Her initial attempts are, of course, hilarious. Even as Jasp tries to make diplomatic suggestions, they only get more joyfully ridiculous.
Their antics are so resonant because they are deeply rooted in character. A rubber chicken is just a rubber chicken, except when it appears where you least expect it and yet you know that’s where it had to be because—Morro! And you know exactly what Jasp thinks of that rubber chicken because—Jasp!
And during the—as Morro describes it—“sad part,” I suddenly realized just how invested I had become in their offbeat, thoroughly loving relationship.
During the Glenn Sumi-hosted Talkback, they revealed how difficult it is to market a clown show. It’s the red noses. They’ve often been asked to lose the noses to make their thing more “accessible.” Those noses, though, that cartoonish costuming and physicality, are what makes it work as well as it does. Without them, it would be—well, imagine South Park as live-action… just think of how flat that would fall.
It’s a shame that it has taken me this long to finally see them, but there’s little to be gained from dwelling on the past. The future is where it’s at and I want mine filled to the brim with as much Morro and Jasp as I can fit. My mind is stretchy, so there’s lots of room.
Morro and Jasp: Save The Date is a great show! I had all of the feelings! Go have them too!