Review: In Adagio (Art & Lies Productions)

Art & Lies Productions brings Opera and Fado together with their Toronto theatre production of In Adagio

As I first approached the Sterling Studio Theatre I thought to myself, “What have I got myself into?” Nestled in amongst the warehouses of Sterling street sits an intimate and eclectic theatre where Art & Lies Productions is currently staging In Adagio. Once I crept around the dimly lit side entrance and opened the door, I was greeted by a smiling bartender and ushered into the charming one room theatre.

The unexpected setting seems appropriate considering the content of In Adagio. During the 1960s, a young Fado singer and a fading Opera star are both preparing for a performance at the Paris Opera house when the Algerian riots breakout, which leaves them trapped together inside the theatre. The tension between the two divas comes to a head just as the threats outside move closer to their dressing rooms.

The show is written by company co-founder, Jess Salgueiro, and was originally performed as part of the 2012 Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival. The writing succeeds in providing ample detail for the audience to be able to follow, while continuing to move along at an engaging pace.

I especially enjoyed the opening sequence where both women were preparing to perform in their separate dressing rooms. Their individual conversations with characters not physically present were performed in tandem. This style of presentation allowed the audience to quickly understand the basic facts which connected and separated these two strong females from one another; a very intelligent structural choice.

Though not necessarily a musical, Opera and Fado are both performed during the work. The performers are very skilled, and I personally really appreciated the musical inclusion. I felt that it added to the intensity without becoming overly dramatic.

One element that I found to be unnecessarily dramatic was the staging. My guest and I weren’t very sure what to make of it. The characters were grandiose enough, but they didn’t need such over-exaggerated staging directions. To me, it just didn’t seem appropriate for the script or the setting it was being performed in. The story and performances were engaging enough without adding in some flashy physicality.

In Adagio is a wonderful historically based story about two powerful and vulnerable women. It’s worth making the venture to out the Sterling Studio Theatre to experience it for yourself.

Details

  • In Adagio is playing at Sterling Studio Theatre (163 Sterling St, unit 5).
  • Performances run Wednesday November 14th to Saturday November 17th at 8pm with a Saturday matinee at 2:30pm.
  • Tickets are $18 for adult and $15 seniors and students. The Saturday matinee is PWYC.
  • Tickets are available online or at the door (cash only).

photo of Jess Salgueiro and Daniel Friesen.

One thought on “Review: In Adagio (Art & Lies Productions)”

  1. Completely agree. I saw the show and while I thought the writing and the performances were both solid, the direction was over-the-top and made me cringe. The actors looked totally unnatural and awkward doing much of what they were instructed to do, and it didn’t seem at all necessary or logical.

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