Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: (Montreal) Lotus (Fringe)

The Facebook Wall
by Sarah Deshaies

It’s a bold and tempting move to rip a story from the headlines, so-to-speak, and make it your own. Playwright Caitlin Murphy’s Lotus riffs quite nicely on the threads of cyberbullying, teen rape and the permanency of actions that we’ve seen played out in the news on a regular basis now. 

Dark content, to be sure, but there are still moments of lightness and humour between cop Linda (Miriam Cummings) and high schooler Amber (Samantha Megarry).

Linda is following a hunch that the recalcitrant teen is hiding a deep and potentially criminal secret. Someone has posted a singularly shocking and sinister photo to Amber’s Facebook wall, and the quirky, depressed Linda is determined to get to the root of it.

Megarry and Cummings hold themselves up well despite the uneven interaction between their characters. Linda is laughably incompetent, and coping with what she calls a ‘patience problem’ (as opposed to anger management issues). 

While the comedy is a welcome touch in such a dark play, it’s hard to believe she’s getting to the bottom of anything with her neuroses and constant interrupting. Sometimes it felt like Linda was worse off than the poor, bullied teen she was hassling. Sure, Amber is screwed, but couldn’t we do something nice for the cop? 

The plot’s punch to the gut is squirrelled away to the end of the play, with a slow drip of reveals throughout. 

The winner of last year’s Spirit of the Fringe prize for Around Miss Julie (which also got to run at Edinburgh), Hopegrown Productions’ goal is to develop rich characters for women on the stage. It’s great to see a young company return with as just and ambitious show chomping into edgy, meaty content.

June 14 - 22
[DISCLOSURE: Playwright Caitlin Murphy is a senior contributor for The Charlebois Post - GLC]

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