Nov. 26, 2008 - Issue #684: I Served the King of England
The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead: Blonde Ambition
Morals and rationale get skewed in Citadel's rollicking one-hander
From the moment Fiona Reid begins her first of seven different monologues in the Citadel’s production of the play, the audience is transfixed by the storyline and Reid’s chameleon-like abilities to assume the characters.
The opening scene begins with an anxious housewife, Rhonda, cowering in a chair. She nervously describes her highly emotive response to the news that her estranged husband, Graham, had been seen by her trusted friend Lynette with another woman. This shock has led her to make a horrible mistake that will now send her to jail and set in motion an irreversible chain of events she cannot fully comprehend. Rhonda then fades away into darkness, and as music plays from behind a screen of mirrored glass, she transforms into the grieving lesbian doctor Alex Doucette. From here the story takes on another dimension, as it will with the presentation of each new character.
The monologues fit together in a seamless series of perspectives on the same tragic event. Each character is somehow connected to the incident which has separated Rhonda from her child, Damien, and has left two other children, Matt and Ellen, without a parent.
Each character, from Alex Doucette to Rhonda’s friend Lynette and Rhonda’s unfeeling husband, Graham, rationalizes their actions in ways that are at times humorous for their sheer audacity, and at others shocking for their cold indifference. The audience is left with a more complex reading of the characters, and the original classifications as “the blonde” or “the brunette” cannot summarize the myriad psychological factors that have now come to make the characters complex and real.
The innovative set design by Michael Gianfranseco makes Reid’s wardrobe changes a tantalizing game of trying to guess which character will emerge next to peel back yet another layer of the story. Doing a wardrobe change behind a screen in which the audience can see the silhouette in relative darkness would not be an easy feat. To add to this performance, Reid also takes on the mannerisms of each character as she changes; the flirty Blonde gets dressed to jazz music while seductively swaying her hips, while the four-year-old boy, Matt, bounces playfully out from behind the screen.
In the end, Reid captures the tone of each character that makes up The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead almost perfectly, drawing on the strengths of Hewitt’s script: he has taken scenarios that occur every day and everywhere and patched them together to the point where the audience can see how skewed one’s moral code and rationale can become, but also how clearly an individual’s vision can be when removed from the toxic situation. V
Until Sun, Dec 7
The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead
Directed by Wayne Paquette, James MacDonald
Written by Robert Hewitt
Starring Fiona Reid
Citadel Theatre (9828 - 101A Ave), $40 - $75
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