Review: The Big Game (Red One Theatre Collective/The Tennessee Project)

Wow! I just experienced 35 minutes of theatre perfection. The Big Game is perfect. Red One Theatre Collective has done everything right in this production. It’s part of The Tennessee Project now on in Toronto.

This was a very intimate production. The seats – one row – were like either side of a sideways parentheses. At each end there was a bed and table. On one side in the middle of the row there were two chairs and a filing cabinet. The middle of the other side was open, serving as a doorway so the cast could access the stage.  It was a perfect hospital room.The Big Game is a story about life and death that takes place in a hospital room during the Depression. There are three patients, Dave – played by Benjamin Blais, Tony Elson – played by Jeff Irving, and Walton – played by Brenhan McKibben. The rest of the cast are Joe, played by Asante Tracey, Nurse Greta Albers – played by Hayley Toane, Nurse “Fussy” Stewart -played by Dani Kind, and Doctor North – played by Pete Treadwell. They were all wonderful.

The intimacy of the staging meant that this was a play of small gestures, it was contained. It was like a pot with a lid simmering gently. You don’t always want things to be at a roiling boil threatening to spill over the edge.

A production that works this well doesn’t happen just because of one or two people and I want to mention everyone. Melissa Joakim designed the lighting, Joanne Boland designed the sound and Shannon Doyle designed the set. It all worked perfectly together.

Dylan Trowbridge directed the piece. This is his directorial debut. I hope he continues directing.

You still have 5 chances to see The Big Game.

  • Thursday May 3rd – The Danforth
  • Friday May 4th – Leslieville
  • Saturday May 5th – The Annex
  • Sunday May 6th – Roncesvalles
  • Monday May 7th – North York

I highly recommend it.

That’s two nights of excellent theatre in Cabbagetown this week. Last night I saw This Property Is Condemned and Talk To Me Like The Rain (Theatre Caravel). I’m on a roll.


– The Tennessee Project runs until May 7th at seven venues across the city.
– Performances are at 8pm except in The Annex where they begin at 7:30
– Tickets are $18.00 and are available online or at the door.