Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: (Ottawa) The Public Servant (undercurrents)

Toronto's Gift to the Capital
by Jim Murchison 

Toronto's Theatre Columbus has brought a production tailor-made for Ottawa. It is about Federal Public Servants. It would merely need to be good to be popular, but The Public Servant is far, far more than that. As well as being relatable to everyone that has ever worked in a government office environment at any level, it is satirical without losing honesty or insight.

There are three main Characters in this office dedicated to in depth analysis and policy regarding vegetable shipment protocol. The first is the eager newcomer played with perky zeal by Haley McGee who is excited just to be Canadian. The second is the jaded and stifled veteran, played with bitter restraint by Amy Rutherford who only wants to meet the deadline and stay within the guidelines. Sarah McVie is the unofficial mediator. She knows just enough of what she needs to know about everyone to be a middleman and get things done.

All three actresses work well off each other. McVie and Rutherford, in particular, play multiple characters, but it is the chemistry between the main three and the understanding of the working of bureaucracy and political spinning that make it both funny and real.

Director Jennifer Brewin is the final ingredient of the creative team that has created a fast-paced and hilarious play that will be one of the hits of this festival and likely whatever fringe festival it plays in the summer. Judging from the applause last night, the audience definitely agrees with me. 

runtime: approximately 1 hour 
Until February 17

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