2012 Next Stage Theatre Review: Living With Henry (Beyond Boundaries)

Next Stage Theatre Festival 2012I didn’t know what to expect from Living With Henry. Would it be a drama? A comedy? Probably not a comedy, it’s a musical about living with HIV. Was I going to sob through the whole production? Would I enjoy it?

Yes, I enjoyed it a lot. Living With Henry is a drama but is never heavy handed. There are a lot of funny moments but the script never goes for the cheap laugh. The songs blend seamlessly with the dialogue and are there to move the story forward. It all works together perfectly.

There’s no death in the show; HIV is no longer a death sentence. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to live with. The show is about coming to terms with being HIV positive, about accepting it and yourself, and about continuing to live your life. It’s a very positive show without being at all Pollyanna.

The characters are well developed. It would have been very easy to make the mother one-dimensional. Even Henry (HIV) is not all dark – in fact there are a couple of scenes where he’s downright cute. There are no villains and no superheroes.

Do take tissues, you’re probably going to cry. Not through the entire performance though. You’re going to laugh as well. The bathhouse tango scene is brilliant, great dancing and very funny.

Living With Henry is an example of a perfect dramatic musical. Really well written, well directed, and perfectly performed by a strong cast. Definitely worth seeing.

– All Next Stage Theatre Festival performances are being held at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst)
– Tickets for all shows are $15 for Evening Performances (7:00 and after start time), $12 for Afternoon Performances (6:59 or before start time) and $10 for Ante-chamber performances
– Showtimes for Living With Henry are:
JAN 4 / 8:45
JAN 6 / 9:15
JAN 7 / 4:45
JAN 8 / 2:45
JAN 10 / 8:00
JAN 11 / 6:00
JAN 13 / 7:00
JAN 14 / 9:00
JAN 15 / 2:30