Sunday, January 11, 2004

We're always have Restitution...

I didn't have great expectations for Restitution: An Irish-Canadian Rhapsody by Michael O'Brien, currently playing at the Factory theatre. This is probably why I ended up enjoying the play, which is about two feuding Irish-Canadian brothers/stereotypes..

Described as "a joyous, rollicking comedy about faith, family, murder, suicide, the Irish Famine, domestic violence, bare-knuckle boxing, torture, vivisection, alcoholism", O'Brien seems to be writing in the tradition of the in-yer-face playwrights, particularly Martin McDonagh.

Unfortunately, O'Brien is no McDonagh and he really pulls his punches in the second act. As a result, the play finishes all saccharine and gooey. Until then though, it's fun. (Would have been more fun with 20 minutes cut out of it.)

Director Sarah Stanley, I think, is the one who made this production fly. She understood that the play would only work if it was staged broadly and the stereotypes were played at full volume.

She had some excellent contributions from Lisa Norton (Eye's cover girl this week), who plays Bridget Macready, and some guy whose name I'll track down, who cracked up the audience everytime he stepped on stage in one of his multiple roles.

Post-script

Whoa nelly! Richard Ouzounian massacred the play in his Toronto Star review... Quote: "The author calls this epic 'an Irish-Canadian Rhapsody.' I prefer to think of it as a Rhapsody In Boo."

Ha! Worst pun ever! I love it...

(I think Ouzounian must be a little under the weather this week. His review of Copenhagen was paint-by-numbers and this one is just overly and unnecessarily harsh...)

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