Total Pageviews

Monday, November 15, 2021

After so long, 3 shows in a month seems AMAZING! The Fiancé, The December Man and Garneau Block!

 Yep, theatre is back. Some theatres are a little more back than others, and some are more distanced than others. Some are picking up where they left off, and some are showing new things. I took in three shows in the last month and it feels so strange to once again be out and about doing what I love! I'm still cautious, but it was nice to have moments in a darkened theatre where I both laughed and cried. 

Photo Credit: Nanc Price

Most recently (yesterday afternoon) I took in the new work, The Fiancé, in the Citadel's Shoctor Theatre.  With The Fiancé , penned by Holly Lewis (wife of Artistic Director Daryl Cloran), we were treated to a brand new farce taking place at the end of WWII. It featured local Edmonton theatre artists both on and off stage and it was a fun romp as the sweet and cake-loving Lucy (Helen Belay) and her tough no-nonsense sister Rose (Patricia Cerra) managed the comings and goings of Lucy's three wartime fiancés (Farren Timoteo, Tenaj Williams and Sheldon Elter), who have all arrived home on the same day. The stakes are raised by the arrival of a new landlord, Ms. Crotch (played by a ferocious Lora Brovold), with strict rules about unmarried ladies living in the building. As with most farces, the First Act served to set up the situation as precariously as possible and the Second Act was where it all payed off. It was an enjoyable afternoon spent out at the theatre where I could laugh and anticipate who would end up with who and what ridiculous circumstance would wrap it all up. I was not disappointed! The script is new and could use a little tightening and the removal of a few anachronistic bits that bumped me out of the story, but the cast do a great job selling every moment. And although the physical comedy in the fights and business are funny, they could also use a bit of judicious editing as they don't always carry the momentum required. As I mentioned, the Second Act is where it all pays off, as more people are added and more doors start getting opened and closed. All in all, this is a nice little show that will make you feel good and get you laughing. 

The Fiancé runs to November 28 and tickets are available here. Tickets range from $30-$108.00.

COVID RATING: B+ (Guests are checked for double vaccination and masked throughout the performance, hand sanitizer is provided in the lobby and entrances, but seats are not distanced and some guests removed their masks to drink and eat in the theatre)

Photo Credit: Scott Henderson, Henderson Images

Last week I took in The December Man at Walterdale Theatre. It has closed but I did want to comment on the excellent production. The December Man, by Colleen Murphy, tells of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique tragedy involving the murder of 14 women and injuring others by a lone gunman railing against feminism. The story is told in the aftermath with the effects on one male student Jean (played with sensitivity by Filip Fufezan) who survived the shootings and the guilt that he deals with for not doing more. His parents, played by Christine Gold and J. Nelson Niwa, struggle to help him and their own limitations prevent them from being able to do so successfully. The trio of actors were beautifully committed to their characters strengths and weaknesses, and together there were a believable family coping as best they could with this horrible new reality. And the story, told in reverse order, culminated in a heart-breaking emotional release. The piece was directed with a skilled hand by Alex Hawkins who allowed the cast to weave through the emotional ups and downs realistically. 

The December Man closed this past Saturday, so you can no longer see it. However, Walterdale Theatre's next production is 5@50 by Brad Fraser which runs from December 8-18. Tickets can be purchased here. $25.00

COVID RATING: A+ (Guests are checked for double vaccination and masked throughout the performance, hand sanitizer is provided at entrances, bathrooms are restricted to one person at a time, seats are socially distanced, limited tickets are sold to prevent over-crowding)

Photo Credit: Arthur Mah

Earlier this season I also caught The Garneau Block at the Citadel in the Maclab Theatre. At the time of the Shut-down I think I was about a week and a half from seeing the show, so it was nice to finally catch it on the stage! I'm so happy for these shows-interrupted who are now able to be seen. Some productions over the course of the pandemic were able to transition to online productions, but with this being a play based on a novel by Edmonton's own Todd Babiak, so close to Opening, with a set left intact, I was really happy that they were able to keep (almost) the entire original cast and get the opportunity to share it with the city. I loved the book, so it was cool to see that world recreated onstage in this adaptation by Belinda Cornish. There are differences but the spirit of the story is intact, as are the characters. It was a great afternoon of laughter for me. Stand-out performance, however, must go to Nadien Chu whose onstage melt-down was one for the ages! As a whole, however, the cast was a delightful, well-balanced ensemble. Kudos!

The Garneau Block is no longer running so tickets are not available. 

No comments: