Review: Eirlys & Eckhart (Cart/Horse Theatre)
Eirlys & Eckhart is new Toronto theatre good enough to see twice
After the success of This Lime Tree Bower, I had been meaning to check out what Cart/Horse Theatre is all about. I finally got my chance last night with their production of Eirlys & Eckhart playing in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. Written by Arlin Dixon, this ambitious production is her first play to be produced.
Eirlys & Eckhart is the story of two friends, who have never quite grown up, reuniting in a house where the past is packed up in boxes. While old demons bang against the door, Eirlys and Eckhart have only their friendship to rely on.
My guest and I didn’t know what to expect going into this, but we were pleasantly surprised. For her first play to be produced, I thought this was stellar writing and that the script has tremendous potential. I enjoyed the cerebral quality of the text and the fact that I left the theatre with unanswered questions.
The set was simple but effective. Everything was on stage for a reason. There were shelves piled high with boxes containing junk from the past, which doubled up as props. And yet, despite the clutter, everything had its own place, which made for an interesting dynamic in this organized mess.
The action on stage was exciting and well-paced. Extremely well rehearsed, I thought both actors were successful in their choices and at keeping the audience engaged throughout. Matthew Gorman in the role of Eckhart was creepy and lovable all at the same time and Arlin Dixon as Eirlys had this interesting way of being child-like yet jaded.
Part of me thinks a few elements of the show were a bit too vague. It was unclear as to which period this story was taking place in and the relationship between Eirlys and Eckhart remained undefined. On the other hand, seeing a play that can spark that amount of discussion is always a success in my mind.
Although you might have enough questions that you’ll want to see it twice, Eirlys & Eckhart is really well executed. It was my first experience with Cart/Horse and I look forward to seeing more. I always feel a deep sense of satisfaction when I see a small-budget production with this level of passion and ability. Kudos.
– Eirlys & Eckhart is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue) until March 16th, 2013
– Performances run Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30pm; matinées on Saturday at 2pm
– Tickets are $20 and PWYC for Saturday matinées
– Tickets can be purchased online or by telephone at 416.504.7529
Photo of Arlin Dixon and Matthew Gorman by Scott Gorman