Or – 2010 Summerworks Review

By Mira Saraf

At 10pm on a Friday night, a few friends and I showed up at the corner of Adelaide and Bathurst for Or. The show was described as a playful comedy about a spy turned playwright who is desperate to finish her piece without the constant distraction from her love life.

The piece started off slow; with dialogue delivered in thick British accents so quickly that it was hard understand. The pockets of laughter rippling across the audience indicated that smaller groups of people were getting the jokes at the beginning but never the entire audience at once.

The exposition of what was going on was a little bit weak in the beginning as well. This may have been lost in accents and fast speech but it was a little confusing. Things came together a little later for my in the piece.

Aphra, the spy turned playwright is plagued by an impressively complicated love life which includes historically notable characters such as Charles II and Nell Gwynn, along with an ex-lover and a surly maid.

Aphra, clad in a red dress, was the only cast member that played a single character throughout the show. The balance costumes were versatile allowing the two others to play six characters with only a little bit of adjustment.

Although it was a little unclear what was happening for the first fifteen minutes or so, the play finally hit it’s stride in Aphra’s bedroom as a series of character entrances and exits and panicked shoving of people into bedrooms and other such hiding places.

There is an incredible amount of cross romances, make out sessions and some things that push the boundaries of PG-13. This is not the most family friendly performance, but it definitely was entertaining.

The theme behind the title was a little weakly portrayed. If they could have communicated this a little heavier without making it blaringly obvious, that would have enhanced the experienced. I felt like I sort of understood why it was called “Or,” but not quite.

However once the show got going it was hilariously funny and you could see the characters come to life. It became more of a performance, and a little less stiff. It was edgy, funny and a look at the gray, the space in between the lines.