We had a great time in Mesa over the winter, but it was certainly a cultural wasteland. (see Hamlet, The Tempest, Private Lives reviews). We who live in southwestern Ontario and have access to Stratford, Shaw, and all of the theatre options in Toronto are so lucky! It is rare to go to a play that is not a top quality production. We may not always like the play, we may disagree with how it is presented, we may not like the cast, but we can rarely complain about the quality. So it was a great relief to return home after our winter in the sun and attend Canadian Stage’s production of This by Melissa James Gibson. We had not seen any of her other work, but will definitely be looking for chances to see some of her other plays .
This is a set of conversations among five people, with no formal scene breaks, but different locations for the conversations to occur. Jane, played by Laura Condlin, is dealing with the sudden death of her husband. Her long time friends, Marrell and Tom, (Yanna NcIntosh and Jonathan Young) are the sleep deprived parents of a new baby. Alan (Alon Nashman) who only wants love and recognition from his friends has the ability to remember everything he hears. Jean Pierre ( Christian Laurin) is a doctor with an aid organization like MSF. The relationships shift though out the play, some times funny, sometimes sad or angry, but always real. The dialogue is superb and the acting is even better. This cast do not act their parts – they inhabit them. It was a great afternoon at the theatre and a great relief to be back where theatre is important and professional. Amateur actors should be encouraged, but I prefer to spend my money on the quality that comes with experience.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to This

  1. keithhpotter says:

    Definitely this is a playwright who does dialogue, and humour – the lines were often funny even when you saw the underlay of sadness. You could say it is a play about adultery but it is far more about friendship and grief and mourning.

    It was great to see characters on stage, not just actors – the real difference from Mesa.

    Laura Condlin was excellent in a character that was so emotionally exposed, compared to the more mannered part she had in Matchmaker (which she also did well).

    In Hirsch, I had found Alon Nashman playing too much to the insiders of the Stratford Festival; and I wasn’t sure I liked him as an actor. Here, without the responsibility for the whole play, just for his character, he demonstrated that he is an excellent actor – sorry for my doubt!

    Once again, this play demonstrated that Yanna McIntosh should stay away from Shakespeare – she is so much stronger in contemporary pieces.

    No specific comments about Jonathon Young or Christian Laurin – except that both Tom and Jean-Pierre were just as real to me as the other characters, so a great job.

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