Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Delicacy (SummerWorks)

From left, clockwise: Tennille Read, Andy Trithardt, Kelly McCormack, Kaleb Alexander (photo credit: ZAIDEN)

On a delicate subject...
by Zoe Erwin-Longstaff

Theatre Brouhaha promises to produce work that will wow the 'HBO generation'. This helps to explain why watching Artistic Director, Kat Sandler’s, new play Delicacy, at the Lower Ossington Theatre, I felt more like part of a studio audience than someone watching a play.  The set, suggestive of ones seen on sitcoms, a sea of white, done up with all the flourishes of crude wealth, from a tacky shag rug, to a hideously expensive phallic sculpture. 

This condo belongs to Tanya and Mark (Andy Trihardt and Tennille Read) a stuffy Yorkville couple who, despite their immaculate house and manicured appearances, can’t help but betray deep marital discord within the first 15 seconds.  “Stop saying it [I love you] like it’s an apology”, will be Mark’s oft-repeated refrain.  They are contrasted with the younger, gauche Colby and Len, who declare PDA.u

Delicacy recycles the tried and true conventions of the two-couple comedy of manners, made famous by Albee’s George and Martha in 1962, revamped with vigor by Yasmina Reza in 2006 and most recently seen in Canada in 2012 with Francois Archambault’s The Leisure Society.   But Sandler adds her own twist, rather than creating a mounting sense of sexual tension, Sandler lays it all out in the open, these couples aren’t fellow-parents, colleagues or friends, they are swingers meeting for the express purpose of extra-marital sex. 

The real humour in Delicacy comes from the clumsy Tanya and Mark’s attempts to out-do each other in their stunted seductions of Colby and Len.   Sandler’s dialogue has bite, and is chock full of contemporary references that had her (notably young) audience in stitches.  The standout performance without a doubt was Trihardt whose genuine anguish and hapless try-hard quality was often painful to watch.  Fun and funny Delicacy will be on most people’s must-see list this SummerWorks. 

Delicacy is at SummerWorks

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