Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: (Toronto) Home

Oliver Dennis & Michael Hanrahan (photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Storey's Story
Soulpepper goes Home
by Jessica Yen
Home, written by David Storey is a slow to unravel story about communication and trying to find familiarity in an unfamiliar place. The ensemble cast is what makes this tricky 80 minute plotless play a treat for audiences. 
The set, designed by Ken MacKenzie, is elegant and effective in that it is familiar and yet nondescript enough that the reveal of the play's true location is not given away. Jack and Harry are dressed impeccably as English gentlemen and for the first half of the play it is easy to believe that this may very well be a period play. Their exchanges are a wonderful display of nuance and wit. Oliver Dennis keeps conversation afloat and the physical details of his character are engaging to watch, from the way he holds his hat to the way he leans across the table. Michael Hanrahan as Harry is the yin to Dennis' yang. They navigate the non-sequiturs and silences with precision and sensitivity. 

This eclectic group of characters are just as fun to watch together as they are individually fascinating. 

With the entrance of Kathleen and Marjorie, played by Brenda Robins and Maria Vacratsis, we quickly realize this is not a period play or the country manor we might have been led to believe it was. Their thick cockney accents immediately inform us that there is another class in the mix. The comedy really starts to bubble when Jack and Harry interact with Kathleen and Marjorie, especially with some clever word manipulation from Marjorie. The last to enter the play is Alfred, played by the magnetic Andre Sills. Alfred, the former wrestler doesn't say much; he picks up the patio table and chairs, sometimes walking away with them much to the dismay of the other characters. He only speaks when continually prompted and confirms the audience's suspicions of where we might actually be. This eclectic group of characters are just as fun to watch together as they are individually fascinating. 
If you're looking for a fast paced plot based play, this is not a piece for you; if detailed character performances are more your cup of tea, come see Home for a feast.

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