Jan. 30, 2013 - Issue #902: Come cry with Daniel Romano
Evening falls on a day that's turned a family's world upside down, butlittle do they know, the blows have only just begun.
Conflicted parents Clay (Doug Mertz) and Gloria Matthews (Coralie Cairns) prepare their backyard patio for an awkward dinner with the mother of their son Danny's girlfriend Evie, who they believe has had a strong hand in landing him in his current predicament involving expulsion from school after bringing a gun on campus. As they set the patio table, accented by fading light as the evening draws on—a lighting element that only adds to story's dark nature—the discussions revolves around Danny and his change from the boy they once knew to the angry adolescent they currently have on their hands. Gloria, who Cairns delivers as a bundle of tense, desperate energy, believes he's changed, expressing resentment and disappointment towards the person Danny has become. "I want to smother him in his sleep," she states flatly before taking a swig of gin and tonic. Her husband, ever the doting peacemaker and nostalgic optimist, tries to tell her that he's still their son, regardless of his actions. Mertz and Cairns carry the banter at rapid fire pace, slinging one-liners with believable husband-wife chemistry, spiking the conversation with dry humour, which injects a refreshing reprieve amidst the grim subject matter.
Soon Evie (Karyn Mott) enters in her mother's place. A firecracker oozing adolescent angst and attitude, complete with an inked up, tough-as-nails exterior, Evie begins to explain the whole Danny debacle, with more details unraveling with each passing minute as the young couple's tragedy culminates in the final climax.
The intensity is on high from the get-go, with the story feeling like it begins in the middle rather than with the usual rising arc. Tension radiates throughout the theatre, casting a web of suspense as each layer is peeled back and Danny and Evie's story unfolds—their love, protecting it and the turmoil they now face. It's a story that twists and turns continuously, demanding constant attention to avoid confusion—there's enough chance of that happening on its own as you attempt to grasp what's happening through the turbulent emotion and swift dialogue. Just when you think you've got things figured out, another twist occurs, never allowing the audience to get too comfortable or the pace to flatline. Driving the game of cat and mouse is Evie, to whom Mott brings a sense of realism and dimension, moving her out of stereotypical teen angst territory and turning her into someone who has a great deal of depth and her own tragedy beneath the surface. Evie has been a target of blame, but as Gloria and Clay quickly learn, sometimes it takes a look inward to realize the truth.
Until Sun, Feb 10 (7:30 pm, 2 pm matinee Saturday and Sunday)
Directed by John Hudson
Varscona Theatre $16 – $27 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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