Review: (Ottawa) The Dumb Waiter
by Jim Murchison
When you walk into the theatre and sit down you notice that there are two rather uncomfortable looking single beds at right angles from each other. The walls are draped with spattered sheets as if the place is preparing for some kind of renovation. Hidden somewhere under the draped cotton is a dumb waiter, used to transport what to where we don't know.
The Avalon is a very intimate space and so fits the intimate and tense style of Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter. Third Wall Theatre presents this play a little differently in that they have two women playing the roles of Gus and Ben. I don't really think it matters. It certainly doesn't hurt it. The star of Pinter is Pinter's words and the spaces between them so the most important thing is to cast people that do the text justice. Mary Ellis and Kristina Watt are such people and director Todd Duckworth understands stage dynamics and the value of a pause and a word so the production is played in the right key and well worth seeing.
Mary Ellis as Augusta is the junior member of the pair tensely waiting for instructions from 'him'. She is the more anxious of the pair. Kristina Watt as Benita is a little more jaded and world weary. She has also learned that it is not good to ask too many questions. It is often safer to not know more than you have to.
It is a very short play so I am not going to say anything more except it is directed and performed well and the artists have a great deal of respect for Pinter's well crafted gem. Interestingly they did choose to keep all the British reference and the cockney. It all works. That is the wonderful thing about The Dumb Waiter. There are so many different ways to play it that are right and this is one of them.
Now go see it and let Pinter set the rest of the mood and ask the questions. I am not going to tell you anything, see. I may have said too much already. Blimey! Stop reading and go get your tickets will ya.
The Dumb Waiter is being presented by Third Wall Theatre and 100 Watt Productions in partnership with the Acting Company.
March 21 - 30
Running Time: approximately 1 hour with no intermission
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