More guest-review goodness from Natalie Joy Quesnel!
If you’re not familiar with Insight Theatre, this is the perfect chance to change that (and discover an Ottawa gem in process!) I had the pleasure of seeing the young actors of IN THE FIRST PLACE perform to a sold-out opening night crowd at the quaint Bytown Museum. The play is set-up as a series of monologues about important “firsts”, all written and workshopped by the Insight Theatre actors who range in age from 16 to 19. While there’s certainly nothing new about the subject matter, every monologue has a distinct and honest voice, allowing the audience to engage with the performer. The setting is intimate, perfect for creating the sense of having a one on one chat about first kisses and first crushes.
Insight Theatre, a program through Planned Parenthood, is coordinated by the show’s director Luna Allison. Allison has done a wonderful job of creating cohesion within the group, giving confidence to these young actors (some of which have never performed before.) The scenes run smoothly from one of to the next, though I wish Allison had encouraged the students to perform without props. Setting up props between monologues is a bit of a jarring break from the intimate moments created by the performers. They are rarely useful or effectively used, and distract from the already captivating storytelling.
If you are looking for an aesthetically innovative, physically active performance you won’t find that with In the First Place. However, this show doesn’t need it. Sincerity, humour, and heart make this a worthwhile performance to see.
Natalie Joy Quesnel