December 9, 2018
The Hockey Sweater: A Musical, the decisively Canadian show now at the National Arts Centre, is risky business.
Co-creators Emil Sher and Jonathan Munro have taken Roch Carrier’s simple, beloved story about a hockey-mad ten-year-old boy in a post-Second World War Quebec village and morphed it into a bright, often clamorous show with a 17-member cast and seven-piece band, a coed kids’ hockey team, characters who burst into song at the slightest provocation, swirling choreographed numbers on skates and a village priest with a deeply buried, albeit amusing, secret.
Based on Carrier’s own experience growing up in Ste-Justine, Que, which is where the tale is set, The Hockey Sweater has long been an iconic piece of Canadiana. Monkeying with it could incur the wrath of a nation.
Sher and Munro, together with director/choreographer Donna Feore, can relax. The show works splendidly, managing to be its own entity while respecting and celebrating its revered source.
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