Review: Triple Threat

by George Perry

Going to a play in the middle of the G20 Summit was an interesting thing. But Triple Threat, playing upstairs in the Berkeley Street Theatre, was waiting.

photo of Christopher Sawchyn, Roger Bainbridge and Jeffrey R. Smith

Triple Threat happened to be playing at The Berkely Street Theatre while the G20 summit had downtown Toronto locked down.

I headed out into the rain, hailed a cab, and gave the driver directions.

“Into the siege! The belly of the beast!”

And oh what a beast it turned out to be! Marriage is often like that!

We travelled into a part of town that I was not familiar with, down into an area populated by politicians and anarchists. Really though, I was just visiting a neighbour.

Triple Threat is a play is about two men about to be married. Marriage for anyone is kind of like venturing into the unknown. Sometimes it is friendly, sometimes not, but it is always worthwhile.

The Berkeley Street Theatre is a wonderful venue; a great old building with cutting edge lighting, sound and technology.

One enters the theatre by strolling through a courtyard that wouldn’t seem out of place in New Orleans. A flight or two of stairs, a friendly usher and whammo, we are in theatrical heaven.

Stage left is a love seat, centre stage is a kitchen that Rachael Ray would die for, and stage right is a dining room. Despite the high tech lighting and wizardry above, it really feels warm and comforting, like we are in the condo with the characters.

There are three characters in this play, all of them men. Jeffrey and Robert are the two main characters. Robert is finalizing his wedding plans and preparing dinner.

Trouble begins when Jeffrey decides to blow off some steam at the Pride Parade. He brings home his fears, his love of Robert, all wrapped up in a tight little package. Literally. The package’s name is Mike.

Mike seems like a simple tart at first. Over dinner though, he proves himself to be very well versed. He sides with Robert in most intellectual discussions. Mike admits he was a prostitute and makes no qualms about it. Mike is played convincingly by Roger Bainbridge.

At times the sound of G20 helicopters infiltrate the theatre, adding another level to the experience. It is not easy to separate real life from theatre on this day.

It is a pleasure to see these two fine craftsmen at work. Roger Bainbridge plays Mike and Jeffrey R. Smith plays Robert. They are both talented actors. Keep an eye out for Bainbridge, he’s someone you want in your “theatre pool”.

While Smith does a great job convincing us he is Robert, Christopher Sawchyn, who plays Jeffery, seems to be playing a role. There is a line in the play about loving someone or being in love.

Sawchyn seems to love his role but isn’t in love with it. At times his lines seem over-acted. Maybe he’s tired, or maybe it is the siege happening outside that has distracted him. Either way, Sawchyn is good, but he’s not great.

The bottom line is that I’m glad I visited this neighbour. We didn’t set fire to any police cars, we got to know each other. If it gets remounted, more people should see this play. More people should walk over and explore other parts of this wonderful world of theatre. Get to know your neighbours.

Everyone had a lump in their throat after the final scene. The three actors pull it off and hit a home run.

Triple Threat ran June 18 to 26, 2010 upstairs in The Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto.