Gas Girls – New Harlem Productions

By Crystal Wood

There’s a line in Gas Girls (playing at Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace until November 14) that the characters repeat more than once.

“Love for gas, gas for cash, cash for living, living for love.”

It is simple, heartbreaking, and summarizes the play perfectly. So… great! My job is done. Have a nice night!

But seriously, the play tells the story of two women working near the Zimbabwean border as prostitutes, not for money, but for gas that they can sell… sometimes. The older, seen-it-all Gigi is teaching the trade to the adolescent Lola, who should really be in school instead of on the streets.

My second for this one was Joanne. We both agreed on the strength of the performances. Dienye Waboso makes you really feel for the character Gigi; what she’s been through and what she yearns for. But I was especially impressed with Nawa Nicole Simon’s performance as Lola. She captures the character’s childlike quality so effectively that I forgot I was watching an adult performer onstage.

Joanne wasn’t a fan of what she called the “squirmy parts”, and there are a couple. (But Jo, it’s a show about prostitution!) I thought they were handled realistically and appropriately. My only serious gripe, and Joanne agreed, was with the lighting that angled out at the audience at certain points. It felt like we were under police interrogation lights, and well, this wasn’t a show about police interrogation.

I have to say my favourite part of Gas Girls was the ending. (Hang on, isn’t that what people say when they don’t like something? No, not like that!) I thought the ending felt like a very natural way to end this play and was the most poignant moment of the evening. That’s really all I can say without giving it away, but if your interest is piqued, you know what to do.

Gas Girls is playing from November 5-14, 2009 at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave)
-Showtimes are 8 pm, with a matinee on Saturday at 2:30 pm.
-Tickets are priced at $15, with a PWYC (pay-what-you-can) matinee on Saturday.
-Tickets are available by calling 416-504-7529