Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Impression review: Sudden Death


Written by: Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
Directed by: Matthew MacKenzie
Featuring: Layne Coleman, Brett Donahue, Greg Gale, Tony Nappo, Melissa-Jane Shaw, Maria Vacratsis

Produced by Pyretic Productions at The Toronto Fringe’s Next Stage Festival.

Critic: Jenny Salisbury

Play at a Glance

John Kordic (Tony Nappo) is a washed up NHL enforcer with a decision to make. He's been offered a chance to get back on the ice and return to his glory days. But an addiction to coke and steroids, and the news of becoming a father, leaves him in a seedy hotel room, fighting with the ghosts of his past. Will the pressures of an overbearing mother (Maria Vacratsis), a career-obsessed coach (Layne Coleman), the shadow of The Great One (Brett Donahue), and the demands of an expectant mother (Melissa-Jane Shaw) be too much? Or will this bully of the ice finally fight for a future?

First Impression

Based on a true story, this smart, funny and hard-hitting production reveals the darker side of hockey. Featuring a strong script and a stellar cast, it showcases what we've come to expect of The Next Stage Festival: a night of new theatre, still in a process of development, but well on its way to a full-scale production. MacKenzie's direction and Corbeil-Coleman's script weave together perfectly, setting the stage for the player who doesn't get to be a hero, and showing what happens when the fight is against yourself.

Highlights

Tony Nappo's performance is one for the books, masterfully portraying a coke-addicted, broken bully as the unlikely hero we want to see win. Greg Gale and Andrew Shaver keep the audience laughing in their quick-witted parody of sportscasters, their slapstick humour offering a great balance to the grit of this story.

The Nitpicks

Nappo and Shaw's romantic duo get caught in moments of poetry that fall flat and run counter to the grit and liveliness of the rest of the production.

Audiences Instant Reaction
Warm and welcoming, endin'g in a standing ovation.

Critic’s Instant Reaction

Four stars out of five

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