Doty, Theatre in London
was on at the 2004 One-Act Festival and what your opinionated webmaster
thinks of it...
The London One-Act Festival
June 21-26, 2004
McManus Studio Theatre
The Country of My Skin **1/2
Art, motherhood, survival and their ultimate importance to humanity are
examined as three actors prepare to put on a play in a war-torn country.
Ambitious, complex script by Cornelia Hoogland makes this one of the most
challenging entries at the festival. Unfortunately, it is so talky all
the characters are reduced to blathering ideologues a la Ayn Rand. Pity,
because the actors are all top-notch.
Coming Out ***
One-joke play (although it's a great joke) about a squeaky-clean suburban
family who discovers their teenaged son is a (gulp!) Negro. Funny, biting
script is somewhat undercut by flat performances - although Matt McKenzie
is hilarious as the button-down dad who represses his emotions about as
well as his drinking problem. A flawed stone, but Coming Out is still
a little gem. The third-best show I saw at the festival.
How Gay Is That? *
Well-meaning but shallow look at gay teens coming out of the closet. Troubled
production (three of the leads were replaced days before the performance)
can be forgiven for its aloof acting and awkward staging. However, Chris
Martin's script is inexcusably unfocused and ignorant at times - particularly
when a lesbian character gets turned on watching large-breasted women
on television. How lame is that?
John Newberry Writes a Play
It's well-written, impeccably read and presented by a performer with undeniable
stage presence. But it's not theatre. It's a memorized recitation in the
third person and lacks the comic payoff it keeps promising its audience.
However, if you like audio books….
The Answer Man **
This parody of 1970s television game shows plays like a spin-off of Chelsea
and Boggs - and is nowhere as good. Animated cast gives it their all -
particularly Nicole St. John as a contestant who is way too excited about
winning a lifetime supply of dandruff shampoo. Unfortunately, Matt Martin's
script is sophomoric, sloppy and a complete waste of time - and I'm not
saying that to be nice.
A Triangle in Three Dances
Still waters run deep in this story about a struggling waiter (Rod Keith)
who can't decide between a messed-up nude model (Martha Zimmerman) and
a former classmate (Hannah Feiner) who just wants someone to take care
of her. Potentially unpleasant character study reunites the leads from
last year's Fire of the Mind with terrific results. Feiner's script keeps
finding unexpected corners to explore while Zimmerman is superb as the
over-dependent Katherine. Easily the best offering at this year's festival.
Fishy Wisdom **
One of those plays that's supposed to be good for you. Robbie Antone turns
in a nicely understated performance as a showboat native leader who has
ruined the life of a well-meaning social worker. Jocelyne Rioux is nicely
addled as the bystander trapped between them in a broken elevator. Unfortunately,
as the social worker, Shelley Dougherty reads her lines like she's learned
them phonetically. Pedantic script by Leith Peterson makes a lot of good
points about native relations and raises some interesting social issues
- if you like that sort of thing.
Original Sins ***
Not-for-everyone show from last year's London Fringe Festival makes a
welcome return to the London stage - and we can all be thankful it's in
the air-conditioned McManus this time instead of that sweat box on Dundas
Street. A clueless nun is sent to hell where she is entertained by a horny
evangelist, a foul-mouthed folk singer and a Quebecois host who likes
to eat dead babies. Repellently graphic and a little aimless but still
a unique and unforgettable showcase for the consummate acting and singing
talents of Jake Levesque. The second-best show of the festival.
here for current and upcoming productions
Click here for reviews of other 2004 productions
here for 2004 Fringe Theatre Reviews
Click here for the Theatre in