I watched Mr. Marmalade, produced by Fly by Night Theatre, at Toronto’s Village Playhouse on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
I had read the description of the play and knew it was a dark comedy but had no idea it would be 90 minutes (including an intermission) of non-stop hilarity.
The play is about four-year-old Lucy and her imaginary friend Mr. Marmalade who has an anger management problem; he beats his personal assistant, snorts cocaine off Lucy’s coffee table and carries around a briefcase full of pornographic magazines. There are drugs, alcohol, swearing and suicides – definitely not suitable for children.
The stage is simple and looks like a living room with a couch, coffee table and toys strewn all around. The walls are covered in what we assume are Lucy’s drawings.
Caitlynne Medrek does a fantastic job playing four-year-old Lucy and is so funny and adorable throughout the show without ever being annoying. She throws a temper tantrum, has a tea party and plays house so perfectly it’s hard to believe that she isn’t really four years old.
There is so much talent in this production. Every character is so well suited to their part. Mr. Marmalade played by Kevin Owen and his assistant played by Paolo Santalucia are outstanding. The chemistry between all the characters is great and the comedic timing is perfect.
This play by Noah Haidle is so witty and well written that there is never a dull moment and the audience is laughing all the way through.
However, this comedy does have a very grown-up underlying theme that explores what it’s like to be a kid growing up in today’s world. They really aren’t children at all anymore; just little adults exposed to all the same things that grown-ups are. The story is really about a wise but lonely girl being raised by a busy single mom in a world that doesn’t really appreciate her imagination or innocence. Don’t worry: the play never takes itself too seriously.
My friend, Kerry-Ann, also enjoyed the production and said it has been ages since she laughed so hard. She loved the acting all around, especially Caitlynne’s portrayal of Lucy.
I don’t want to give away too much about this sophisticated comedy as there will be another run later this year. If you like smart, fast paced comedies, you absolutely have to watch this one; it’s hilarious from beginning to end.
I have to mention that the volunteer staff of the Fly By Night’s Artistic Council are so very nice and made sure everyone there had a great time.
Mr. Marmalade played from June 16-18 at the Village Playhouse (2190 Bloor St W). More information regarding this and other productions by Fly by Night Theatre can be found online.
Photo credit to Fly by Night Theatre. In photo: Caitlynne Medrek as Lucy and Kevin Owen as Mr. Marmalade.