Spinning You Home: Okay. Why?

publicity photo for Spinning You Home

Grampa (Simon Webb) gets ghostly with Sarah (Sarah Roa). (Photo by John Greenway)

There’s skill on display here, but I don’t know what it’s in service of.

In Spinning You Home, playwright Sally Stubbs freely embellishes the true story of John “Cariboo” Cameron, a nineteenth-century prospector who struck it rich in the Cariboo Gold Rush, but is more renowned for fulfilling the deathbed promise he made to his wife Sophia. He pledged to return her body to Cornwall, Ontario, which he did, her corpse pickled in a metal-lined coffin filled with alcohol. [Read more…]

Jerusalem: England’s green chaotic land

United Players is presenting Jerusalem by Jem Butterworth at the Jericho Arts Centre.

Rooster (Adam Henderson) and Professor (Jack Rigg) get their bacchanal on. (Photo by Nancy Caldwell)

In 2011 in a forest glade somewhere in Wiltshire, England, lives Johnny “Rooster” Byron in a trailer surrounded by trash. A middle-aged waster, he hosts alcohol- and drug-laced parties for the local teenagers. There’s a new housing estate nearby and the town council wants him evicted. But Rooster is part of a mystical English lineage. He is a Green Man, a nature god, the embodiment of rejuvenating vitality and chaos. “I’ve seen oak trees cry,” he says. “I’ve heard beeches sing hymns.” Two of the girls in his pack are named Tanya and Pea, evoking Titania and Peasblossom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Frustrated with the hypocritical townsfolk who want him gone, Rooster rails, “What the hell do you think an English forest is for?”

Jez Butterworth’s script is hilariously freewheeling and sometimes thrilling. And director Kathleen Duborg’s mostly amateur production for United Players is astonishingly well realized. [Read more…]

Why is there a Terence Rattigan revival? Flare Path doesn’t provide easy answers

Terence Rattigan's Flare Path feels old-fashioned.

Curtis Tweedie and Yoshié Bancroft work the WWII romance in Flare Path.

Watching this production of Flare Path is a bit like listening to an old vinyl record that’s being played on a faulty phonograph. For much of the first act, the needle keeps popping out of the groove. When the needle settles, in Act 2, there’s some beautiful music. In other words, under Genevieve Fleming’s direction, this ensemble struggles with style, but eventually gets it more or less right. [Read more…]

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