Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: (Toronto) The Game of Love and Chance

Gil Garratt (photo credit:

Taking Chances
Marivaux continues to seduce
by Jessica Yen

Hot on the heels of a month-long run at the Centaur Theatre, The Game of Love and Chance has finally arrived at the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto. This close to 300 year old farce written by Marivaux and adapted and translated by Nicolas Billon will have you smiling in your seat. 
Silvia (Trish Lindstrom) is arranged to be married to a nobleman named Dorante (Harry Judge). Having never met him, she has doubts about marriage and whether or not she will love her husband. In a ploy to observe Dorante’s true behavior, she decides to disguise herself by switching places with her maid Lisette (Gemma James-Smith). She tells her father, Monsieur Orgon (William Webster) of her plan and he willingly plays along. Little does Silvia know that Dorante has devised the same plan and has dressed himself as his valet Arlequino (Gil Garratt). Monsieur Orgon and his son Mario (Zach Fraser) are the only ones in on both plans and facilitate the lovers’ games.
The Game of Love and Chance is a brilliant marriage of physical comedy and razor sharp verbal wit. Reminiscent of the Italian Commedia Dell’Arte, the performances are delightfully over-the-top. Both physically and technically demanding, the actors move gymnastically while keeping the fast-paced banter afloat. This modern translation makes a classic piece fresh and immediately relatable. The set is a magnificent moving mirrored design by Anick La Bissonniere, which allows for some clever staging using the mirrors’ reflection. Director Matthew Jocelyn makes the stage his playground and has found the full comic potential of entrances and exits through the many doors found on the set. 
For a night of delicious theatricality and a few belly laughs, go see The Game of Love and Chance.

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