Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: (Toronto) The Retirement Plan (Fringe)

Age, Death, the Whole Damn Thing
A real-life couple face the issues
by Dave Ross

What would you do to ensure a comfortable retirement? What price would you pay? Would you agree to a fixed end-date to a comfortable retirement, or live on in financial uncertainty, possibly even outliving your finances? This is the question asked in the gem, written by Robin Pond with direction by Brian Kennington. 

The story is simple enough, following Marta (Ray Kennington) and George (director Brian Kennington) through their retirement plan from Certainty Assurance, right to the very end. The chemistry between the two Kenningtons attests not only to their talents as actors, but also the fact they are real-life husband and wife. Their financial planner Mort (Trevor Ketcheson) is played to slimy non-committal perfection, while George and Marta’s children Gerry (Cam Sedgwick) and Julie (Maya Woloszyn) have sibling chemistry of their own. The story is well-written, with only one or two scenes seeming a bit drawn out.  The laughter is well-placed, and comes easily. The story is so well-done that I found myself sitting in the theatre thinking that it would make a great film adaptation. Behind all the comedy there is the ever-lingering question of right-to-die legislation, already in debate in a number of legislative houses both in Canada and abroad. Pond’s script tackles the question, bringing the issue to the forefront but in a very accessible and humorous manner. 

Dark, macabre comedy is always fun to watch, and even more so when done with the ease that this cast manages. This performance was near sold-out, so I’d suggest hustling down to St. Vlad’s, and see what Certainty Assurance can do for you. 

The Retirement Plan is at the Toronto Fringe

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