Vivien Endicott-Douglas. photo: Jeremy Mimnagh
Not Entirely a Review: Stopheart
Tale of Small Town Ontario Hits Awful Close to Home
by Christian Baines
This is why it is impossible for me to simply ‘review’ this play impartially, and why those wishing to avoid spoilers should probably stop reading now. Because I need to reveal a very significant plot detail in order to make my thoughts on Stopheart clear.
The central plot, however, is quite enough.
Elian (Amitai Marmorstein) is a young man living with his parents in rural Ontario. His sexually questioning eye falls on Bear (Garret C. Smith), the freshly paroled convict brother of his best friend July (Vivien Endicott-Douglas). Now, to put my critical hat on for a moment, this is probably the only plotline worth investing in, because the parallel plot involving Elian’s mother Goldie (Elizabeth Saunders) rehearsing her own funeral, though ghoulishly ironic, feels like whimsical salvage from Alan Ball’s toss-out bin.
Perhaps this visceral reaction can be attributed to the fact that not five months have passed since my own eye snagged on a rather handsome, seemingly very pleasant, intelligent and well-spoken young man. One completely unambiguous about his similar interest in me. Forty minutes later, I found myself wandering the streets of a strange city, bleeding from my head, looking for help, hoping I’d managed to outrun this guy.