Out and About
The Village Playhouse, 2018 Productions (includes reviews)
The Village Playhouse is located in Toronto’s Bloor West Village, and has three remaining productions before concluding their 2017/18 season. The theatre is quite intimate, and have been presenting award winning shows for several decades, some directly from stagings in New York City. Located just east of Runnymede subway station on Bloor Street, it’s easily accessible from anywhere in the city. Snapshot reviews included below.
Currently playing until February 3rd is, The Liar, by David Ives.
Paris, 1643. Dorante is a charming young man newly arrived in the capital, and he has but a single flaw: He cannot tell the truth. In quick succession he meets Cliton, a manservant who cannot tell a lie, and falls in love with Clarice, a charming young woman whom he unfortunately mistakes for her friend Lucrece. What our hero regrettably does not know is that Clarice is secretly engaged to his best friend Alcippe. Nor is he aware that his father is trying to get him married to Clarice, whom he thinks is Lucrece, who actually is in love with him.
From all these misunderstandings and a series of breathtakingly intricate lies springs one of the Western world’s greatest comedies, a sparkling urban romance as fresh as the day Pierre Corneille wrote it, with a hilarious verse adaptation for today by All in the Timing‘s David Ives. It had its New York premiere at the award-winning Off-Broadway Classic Stage Company in early 2017.
Production shots by Robert Rayfield
The audience is told at the beginning of the production that the cast will be speaking in verse, what is referred to as * the verse is iambic pentameter – a line of verse consisting of five metrical feet, or (in Greek and Latin verse) of two halves each of two feet and a long syllable. Thus begins the farcical tale of mistaken and double identities that is Liar. Dorante (Tyler Brown) is the young gadabout that gets through life on the whimsical nature of his tales and fibs. His humble servant sidekick Cliton (Matthew Taylor) is the complete opposite, unable to lie even when he tries. These two characters are often comical in their back and forth banter, while the newly arrived Cliton seeks out true love in Paris. The question is it he in love with Lucrece (Deanna Moreira)or Clarice (Krista Barzso)?
While the cast speaks in 17th century jargon, some of the present day references are quite effective for those in the audience who catch the subliminal references, such as”powdered help” and “ready made menage-a-trois”. The “liar and truth” scene in Act 2 between Cliton and Dorante is a commanding piece of slapstick humour, ala Abbott and Costello style, where the “principles of lying” are discussed with fine finesse.
The rest of the cast all give compelling performances, while special nod should be given to both Kelly-Marie Murtha, who gives a strong performance in the dual role as the staunch Isabelle and flirtatious Sabine, and Douglas Tindal, who plays one of the more robust characters, as the always hyper and out-of-breath, Geronte. This is actually Tindal’s sixth production with the Village Playhouse.
Get ready to LOL while these performers create a welcome piece of theatre, adapted by David Ives, and based on a the 1643 play by Pierre Corneille, with direction by Kaherine Bignell-Jones.
On stage until February 3, 2018 Liar Tickets
Following this is Tainted Justice, by Don Nigro, from March 2 to 24, 2018.
Drawn from facts surrounding a real murder mystery on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – with flashbacks to the Klondike – Tainted Justice is a compelling drama by the author of Ravenscroft (a hit of our 2008-9 season.) Pearl, a troubled young woman, is haunted by doubts about who actually murdered her father in the dark woods by the cranberry bogs at twilight one August evening in 1913. Her cousin, an eccentric attorney obsessed with seeing Buster Keaton movies, defended the accused murderer. Her uncle, who loves mine shafts, was the accused man’s friend. Her mother is a beautiful and enigmatic woman from whom she has become painfully estranged. The accused murderer is a charming liar who is fascinated by antique doorknobs and insists that he once nearly married Emily Bronte in Moose Jaw.
As Pearl confronts these people, she is pulled deeper and deeper into a dark labyrinth of desire, lies and ambiguous betrayals. By turns funny, haunting, and frightening, this intricately plotted investigation into what can truly be known about other people and their motives weaves memory, testimony, and scenes of twisted confrontation into a compelling tapestry of darkness and light.
Finally, the season closes with the hilarious romp, Perfect Wedding, by Robin Hawdon, April 27 to May 19, 2018.
A bridegroom wakes up in his bridal suite with a hangover on the morning he’s about to be married, and turns to the woman in bed beside him . . . and he hasn’t the faintest recollection who she is. But he does recall that his bride-to-be is about to arrive any moment. During the ensuing panic to get the stranger dressed and out of the way, the bride arrives, the woman is trapped in the bathroom, and the best man gets pressed into action – at considerable risk to his own happiness. By the time the bride’s mother gets in on the act, the chaos reaches hysterical (and hilarious) proportions! A bedroom farce in the best tradition.
The Village Playhouse – 2190E Bloor Street West, Toronto (just east of Runnymede subway).
Box Office: 416-767-7702 – Individual and Season Tickets are available. As well, there’s a special three-ticket subscription that allows you to see each of these great productions for one reduced price.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.