Monday, 8 August 2011

SummerWorks Review: Hurray for The Trolley Car

Trolley Car
SW Description: In German-occupied Paris, impulsive Florence is drawn into a tempestuous love triangle with her husband’s cousin Inez. Originally commissioned and premiered by Solo Collective from Vancouver, this sleek three-hander presents a boldly theatrical look at the choices we make during frightening times—and our complicity in the events that follow.

My Rating: ****½ 4.5/5 Stars

My Review:
The familiar plot of the love triangle is given a refreshing polish by Amiel Gladstone’s script which offers the right amount of levity in apposition to the serious nature of the play. Gladstone may have borrowed some dialogue and the character of Inez from Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit, but this does not diminish the fact that The Trolley Car is Gladstone’s creation.

Monica Dottor hooks the audience from the very moment she steps onto the stage as Florence. Dottor’s vocal and facial inflections express perfectly Florence’s attraction to a life of parties and passion as well as the weighty consequences of her decisions. As Florence’s seductress, Rosa Laborde’s Inez is a shadowy woman who is both sultry and icy. As for Matthew Tappscott, it is not easy to play an ordinary man, a butcher with no significant high or low notes, but far from disappearing into the background, Tapscott’s stage presence makes his character memorable in a play dominated by the two women.

The set piece consisting mainly of rail ties visually reinforces the interconnectedness of the three characters and is a constant reminder of the theme of choice, a question that runs throughout the play. Kudos to the production team for creating a sound and lighting design that moves with Gladstone’s script and characters.

I took a chance on seeing this play because director, Ruth Madoc-Jones was attached to the project. My faith in Madoc-Jones’ strength as a director and her knack for choosing good work paid off with this brilliant three-hander.

Remaining Shows:
Factory Studio
Wednesday August 10th 5:30 PM
Saturday August 13th 12:30 PM
Sunday August 14th 10:00 PM

SummerWorksAug. 4th - 14th
www.summerworks.ca

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I respect this play for exposing it's story-telling mechanics (making subtext literal, mocking parables by halting them, messing with time structure, announcing the love triangle, etc.) but I hated it. Tastes often enter into whether a person likes a play or not.

I found the presentational style (Brecht-ish) distanced me from the characters and the plot. Too much style. It felt like a bored playwright, who was sick of naturalism, decided to write a tale that mocked conventions. The acting, staging, and sets/costumes were great... I began tuning out half-way through.

A show that messed with conventions and worked was "White Rabbit, Red Rabbit"

donna g said...

I heard wonderful things about "White Rabbit", but could not fit it into my schedule.

Anonymous said...

After my previous comment, I read two negative reviews of "White Rabbit, Red Rabbit" and a friend e-mailed me saying she didn't like it. I loved it, but it could easily leave people cold as if you did not believe in dilemma presented to the audience then there wasn't any drama - no emotional involvement. I was enchanted by the narrative structure of it (and not at all by Trolley Car's structure which I've seen before)... such is tastes + experiences.