Review: Frances and Marybeth (bracket)Theatre

Caroline Grace Hall, Meaghen Quinn, Matt Wells, Jesse Bond and David Rossin Frances and Marybeth, Factory Theatre Toronto

Frances and Marybeth delivers laughs at Toronto’s Factory Theatre

Frances and Marybeth, a play described to be about, “Two sisters. Three Men. Fourteen litres of milk. One ultimate date night.” by Neale Kimmel premiered at Factory Theatre Studio last night.

Frances and Marybeth is a farce complete with mistaken identities, false identity, and an unexpected guest.

Frances is a spontaneous free-spirit who has spent the past three and a half months on Marybeth’s couch, crying and eating salt and vinegar chips while trying to get over a breakup with her fiance Rick. Marybeth is her cautious younger sister who sells her paint-by-numbers art on craigslist.

After experiencing a “life-moment” at the gynecologist she meets the dashing Antonio in the dairy aisle and invites him for dinner. She persuades Marybeth to invite Paul – who buys her paintings – so they can have a double date.

Rick, her ex-fiance, shows up and hilarity ensues.This is a very funny show.

My friend Bredgeen and I both enjoyed the show. We especially loved the second act. It was very funny and very fast paced. Bredgeen’s favourite part of the show was the Antonio character played by Jesse Bond. He was terrific using his body well. All of the cast were impressive.

In the press release the show  is described as “farcical female comedy”. One of the things that I really enjoyed was that all the characters were well developed, not just the females. Often it seems as if characters in farces are one dimensional. It was nice to see character development that seemed – for the most part – a natural part of the show.

I say ‘for the most part’ because I really didn’t connect with the show until the second act. The Marybeth character seemed jarring to me, as if she needed to tone it down a bit. I  have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to the second act. When Bredgeen and I were talking after the show she said pretty much the same thing.  It’s strange because Frances and Marybeth was part of last year’s New Ideas Festival and was very well received. I would have expected it to be smoother.

Having said that, I loved the second act and it more than made up for the disconnect I felt during the first act. It’s wonderful to spend an evening laughing. You have to go see Frances and Marybeth to find out about the world’s ugliest dress, the mustache, and the 14 litres of milk.


Frances and Marybeth is playing at Factory Theatre Studio (125 Bathurst St) until March 18th, 2012.
– Performance times are March 8 – 10, 8pm; March 13 – 17, 8pm; March 11 & 18, 2:30pm
– Tickets are $20.00  with PWC on March 11 & 18.
– Tickets are available online, by email, by phone at 416-504-9971 or at the door.

– Photo of Caroline Grace Hall, Meaghen Quinn, Matt Wells, Jesse Bond and David Ross