Another day, another show…isn’t it only supposed to get this busy in the SECOND half of June? It’s the flippin’ fourth and I’m already getting tired. At this rate I’ll be needing Statham-level adrenalin boosts to get me through Fringe. But, at least I know there’s a purpose…after all, a few posts ago I asked for feedback, to let me know if this chud was appreciated, and three people responded! And since I’m just gonna go ahead and count the Adorkable ™ Nadine Thornhill in that camp, that brings us to four. Four whole people like this blog.
Yeah, this is TOTALLY worth it. Sigh. At least my borrowed cat appreciates me. Where’s me Jameson’s? I’ve got reviews to write!
Or rather, ONE review for now, as I had what will probably be my last volunteer shift of the season tonight over at the Great Canadian Theatre company. Tonight I was sitting in for Third Wall‘s third and final production of this season, EXIT THE KING by Eugene Ionesco. Being as I was about as familiar with Ionesco’s work as I am with popularity, I went in rather blind for this one (spoiler alert: that’s actually the way I like it), although not without ANY foreknowledge. I was familiar with the cast to varying degrees…from Simon Bradshaw, whom I now consider a bit of a mate, to Kat Smiley, whom I saw way back in AS YOU LIKE IT. All were repositories of acting awesomeness and I was mighty jazzed for the show. Head 3rd Wall honcho and show director James Richardson gave us an intro off the top, reminding folks that the new season will be launched on Monday (I’ll be there) before the lights went down on Sarah Waghorn’s set, including the biggest fucking rocking chair in the universe. Quite frankly, that ALREADY made it a good show.
The play, from an ouevre known as ‘Theatre of the Absurd’, which is the same wonderful realm that brought us the ’60’s BATMAN tv show (also a good venue for oversized furniture spotting, FYI), is a cunningly staged treatise on death and the acceptance thereof, masked in a story about a loony King who refuses to admit he’s not long for this world. King Berenger, a particularly astounding Andy Massingham putting all of his amazing physicality to the test and making it look easy, is flanked on all sides by a host of courtiers, some more helpful (at least, on the surface) than others. Kat Smiley jumps about in a bright orange wig as acerbic maid Juliette, stealing scenes with every jittery step she takes. Richard Gelinas shows his solid comic chops as the morbid Doctor/executioner, blithely tossing out the information that it’s snowing on the sun. Mary Ellis and Kaite Bunting have a lovely give and go as duelling Queens Margueritte and Marie, and Simon Bradshaw stands guard for it all, a Monty Python-esque black knight who slouches like he should have retired decades ago.
There’s very funny stuff all around, and all hiding the underlying universal question that haunts the whole production…how do we deal with dying? Which is particularly fucking odd for myself, because after class this past week some of us went out for a beer and had a conversation on THAT EXACT SUBJECT. Personally, I plan to rage against the dying of the light, but I AM a stubborn old git sometimes.
The ending was serious theatre joy, and I had a grand time at this show. It made me think, it made me smile, and now, it’s making me write. Good damn season, Third Wall, take a collective bow. I’m excited to come out on Monday and see what you and this fantastic gaggle of actors you’ve assembled are coming up with next season. Make me proud, kids. Peace, love and soul,
the Visitor (and Winston)