Sunday, January 13, 2013

First impression review: Sudden Death


Written by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
Directed by Matthew MacKenzie
Produced by Pyretic Productions at the Next Stage Theatre Festival
Starring: Layne Coleman, Brett Donahue, Greg Gale, Tony Nappo, Melissa-Jane Shaw and Maria Vacratsis

Review by: Martine Plourde

Play at a glance

Meet John Kordic (Tony Nappo) former NHL hockey player who is now dealing with a cocaine addiction and some inner demons as he prepares for an interview that could mean a new contract with the NHL. Harry (Andrew Shaver) and Bob (Greg Gale) are the commentator duo who guide the audience through the game that is John’s internal battles: confronting his mother, Regina (Maria Vacratsis), “The Great One” (Brett Donahue), and his former coach (Layne Coleman). Adding to the list of problems is the real-life predicament with his girlfriend and soon to be baby mama, Cindy (Melissa-Jane Shaw). Can John make it through the game of his life and manage to pull it together, beat his addiction, to get the contract as well as the girl?

First Impression

Shaver and Gale manage to kick-start the show by getting the audience involved in a rendition of the national anthem. The pacing is at times awkward as the commentators slip in and out of the plot, however towards the second half of the performance the transitions move more smoothly setting up a neat rhythm.

From the entrance of Nappo in his (arguably non-existent) costume, we get the sense that this is not a family-friendly performance – definitely not a night with the CBC and Hockey Night in Canada.

Highlights

Some great moments with sharp writing and clever one-liners. The commentators played by Andrew Shaver and Greg Gale have great chemistry, charisma and wonderful comedic timing. Brett Donahue is also quite good as the wholesome “Great One,” while Tony Nappo gives an interesting and moving performance.

The Nitpicks

Although the crude humor is, for the most part, quite clever, the profanity does get a little excessive.

Audience’s Instant Reaction

Moments of rousing laughter, silence, ending in a dispersed standing ovation.

Critic’s Instant Reaction

Three and a half stars

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