Roy Surettes's Marion Bridge by Daniel Macivor at the Kay Meek Studio Theatre brought back memories of my childhood. After the show, I did feel like I wanted to go back home, spend time with my family and give a tight and warm hug to my mom.
Marion Bridge is the story of three sisters who return home because their mother is not well and is in her final days. Agnes is played by Lynda Boyd, Theresa by Nicola Cavendish, and Louise by Beatrice Zeilinger. The play starts off with the sisters entering into the house and getting lost in their memories. Agnes seems to be playful and extroverted, always talking and seeking attention. Louise is straightforward and quiet, preferring to spend time by herself, enjoying watching television. Theresa is sincere, responsible and caring, very particular about cleanliness and the arrangement of things around the house.
As the show progressed, the sisters shared their baggage, played, fought, and slowly gained back their lost connection. The story is painted with a mixture of emotions and humour. Zeilinger as Louise has a great sense of humour and timing, speaking quickly and non-stop. Her short presence on stage left the audience in laughter. Boyd’s playful and chirpy performance as Agnes kept the stage lively and energetic. She had an amazing control on stage, her swift movement filled the emptiness of the stage.
The scene where Louise introduced her mother’s communication slips was very well written and well played but some of the monologues felt unnecessary. In contrast, the sisters return home after meeting their father, especially Cavendish’s natural and funny acting, couldn’t stop me from laughing aloud. The whole audience was laughing and relaxing, I could feel it from the noise coming from moving chairs.
By the time intermission came I did need it. The chairs were a bit small for me, but the theatre has a nice lobby and bar. There is no food on sale in the building or anywhere nearby, so make sure you eat before the show.
On the technical side I found the sound cues jarring. The timing and entry volume of the music didn’t feel good to my ears, I would prefer it to blend in subtly from a low to high volume, not a sudden entry. I wasn't a fan of the flowers and leaves decor either, but some effects, like different colour lights to give a television effect, were very convincing.
Humorous highlights include: Theresa’s entrance, with her butt entering first and reaching the couch while watching television; and Louise bringing home a truck size car with Theresa’s facial expressions and body language connecting you to the scene. The actors do an astounding job, putting their whole heart and soul into each moment.
This production of Marion Bridge takes you through a range of different emotions, switching from sad to funny, to cute, and sometimes serious. The company is from Toronto and the house was full, so make sure you buy your tickets soon and give them a warm Vancouver welcome.
~ reviewed by Gaurav Minocha
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