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Classical 96.3 FM

Theatre Review Aug. 7/01

Summer Works is a popular theatre festival that is partly curated, and partly chance. I selected one of the venues - Factory Theatre -vand spent the evening watching what came along. In fact, I had a very interesting time.

'No Posthumous Victory' is Anne Ptasznik's moving monologue about being the child of a Holocaust survivors. The title comes from Emil Fackenheim's famous theory that if Jews reject being Jewish, Hitler will win a posthumous victory. Ptasznik has put the right mix of sorrow and humour in her script which is filled with provocative ideas. Unfortunately, Ptasznik is a bit stilted as an actress, but this play deserves a shelf life.

'The Malaysia Hotel' by Laurie Fyffe takes place in Bangkok, Thailand in 1982 and deals with a moral and ethical dilemma, as well as a collision of cultures. Should a Canadian teacher, played by Leanna Brodie, help a Cambodian refugee, portrayed by M. J. Kang, enter illegally into Canada? The play, while a bit preachy, touches on many important issues, and veteran director Guillermo Verdecchia has ensured an intense production.

Writer/director Michael Rawley has given a wonderful piece of theatre in his 'Unpossible Elevator' to audiences that love language. The play deals with a bizarre encounter that takes place in the lobby of a medical building. Ellen-Ray Hennessy is a character afraid of the rain, while Geoffrey Whynot is afraid of elevators. The dialogue is filled with rich, witty word play, and the two actors as their damaged alter egos are terrific.

Eric Woolfe's 'Sideshow of the Damned' is a play for people who love gothic satire. Creepy Ron Kennell as the Barker takes the audience on a Grand Guignol trip through three bizarre relationships with the talented cast adding to the dark merriment with their over-the-top acting. Michael Waller's graphic direction is a hoot.

SummerWorks continues at various theatres around town until Aug. 12.

I'm Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.