Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Murderers Confess at Christmastime

Just Damn Good
by Jason Booker

As the title might indicate, Murderers Confess at Christmastime gets a bit dark. 

Jason Chinn's play subverts the "most wonderful time of the year" into a chance for a cross-dressing kidnapper, a drug-addicted former model and a rejected office worker to let the crumbs of Santa's cookies fall where they must. The piece cuts between the three scenarios to expose us to the ever-delightful Amy Keating, the nebbish Aaron Willis and the tenderness of Tony Nappo delivering outstanding performances. However none of these seven actors should be shrugged off either.

Not all of the segments are equal in strength but their heightened sense of reality makes them human, with characters to be related to even in the most outrageous or absurd situations. 

Nick Blais' design keeps everything realistic but attractive, quite functional as the play progresses, using every inch of space possible on the cramped stage. Simon Bloom directs the show with a flair for the physical (even with a wheelchair-confined character) and a gift for pacing.

Outside the March, the company behind Toronto productions of Mr. Marmalade, Terminus and Passion Play, maintains their fantastic run of shows with a slightly more conventional experience this time: a dark, vaguely surreal comedy in a theatre. That said, when producing a show as strong and as sharp as this, who cares if the piece resembles a more traditional show? It's just damn good and a stand-out of this year's SummerWorks with lots of laughs for the quick and witty dialogue, the shtick of these actors, the bevy of props and a truly bizarre musical curtain call.

Murderers Confess at Christmastime

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