Why am I smiling right now? A few reasons, and considering what a career frowner I usually am, I feel these reasons deserve illluminating. For example, today was new comic day, and there was a new BUCKAROO BANZAI on the stands. Trust me, this is always cause for joy.
Also, I just found out that none other than Jayson ‘Giant Invisible Robot’ MacDonald has pimped this here website on his very own Facebook page! I think I may be Geek-ploding at this moment…ain’t very often one of your heroes gets up close and personal like that, and I can’t stress the importance in my life of seeing BOAT LOAD back at the ’08 Ottawa Fringe. Thanks indeed, Jayson Mac, and I hope Ottawa is showing you some love over at the Gladstone.
But of course, if I’m smiling, it probably means I saw cool new theatre tonite, and that is certainly the case. Specifically, the second show in Algonquin Theatre’s latest season, George Walker’s THEATRE OF THE FILM NOIR, directed by he always amazing Teri Loretto-Valentik (who also took on the job of set design with this show…and now we know where hubby Ivo gets it from!). After a little time-killing from arriving too early (And after getting carded at the College pub…is it my fault I look so boyishly handsome??), I took my seat, got annoyed by some critic-type who decided to sit NEXT to me (notepads…bah!), and waited for the show to begin.
Set in the early post-WWII days in France, the story follows a murder being investigated by hard-boiled Inspector Clair (Aaron Lajeunesse). The victim is the brother of a beautiful and potentially dangerous young lady named Lilliane (Ali Caudle), who’s having troubles with her late brother’s unstable ex-lover Bernard (Dillon Rogers), as well as complicated relationships with a pair of soldiers (Mark MacDonald and Austin Fogarty) from opposing sides. Things get pretty murky right quick in Walker’s deliberately morally dubious script, as it’s every character for him or herself, doing what they feel they need to do to survive, even IF the damned war is over now.
The cast is solid indeed. Lajeunesse anchors the proceedings as the Trenchcoated Inspector, running straight into the kind of gray area he’s not built to deal with. Dillon Rogers impresses as the shaky Bernard, striving to find a lifeline in a new world that seems to have little patience for him. And Ali Caudle as Lilliane does a great job balancing the innocent victim with the conniving conspirator. Mark MacDonald, fresh off of Sock’n’Buskin’s YERMA, is suitably imposing as German soldier Eric, and Austin Fogarty almost steals the show as dim American GI Hank, getting the biggest laughs of the evening. And it IS a funny script, albeit a dark kinda funny, but that seems to be how George Walker rolls. And while this is only my second time seeing Walker performed onstage (the first being ZASTROZZI last year, again at Algonquin), I can say that I’m really starting to dig the guy. It’s a good, fun show, moral ambiguity and all.
Oh, and if you DO go? Totally have one or five of the lemon treats at the box office. SO yummy..! Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)