Review: Unspoken (Unspoken Theatre)

Unspoken, winner of the Hart House Players playwriting contest, plays at Unit 102 in Toronto

I watched Unspoken on Thursday night. I was looking forward to this production as it was pitched to me as a similar play to Crash, a production I saw last week and absolutely loved. So the bar was definitely set high.

After reading about the show I thought Unit 102 would make an excellent venue as it is so small and intimate that the subject matter would seem all the more powerful. I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

This show fell flat for me; it felt a little forced. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters and the entire thing just left me feeling detached. The main theme centres around the idea of rape within relationships, not exactly something you can have a lukewarm reaction to, but that’s exactly how I felt.

There are components of this show that, when you look at individually, you would think have the makings for being a good show. The script is original, the poetry has a lot of depth, there are 22 characters played by five actors and the subject matter is current and relatable. All together however, it just failed to pack a punch.

The female actors definitely outshone the male, but the performances that stood out for me were by Drea Burck, who is exceptional, and Kristen Zaza. One of the two male actors was unbearable for me to watch. I know that’s harsh but I felt like I was watching a bad high school production where the kid just kept mucking up his lines, and the ones he didn’t, I still felt were over-rehearsed and sounded like they were being read verbatim.

I liked the set and the fact that the costume changes were done on stage. The actors all wore black sweats and white t-shirts (for the most part) but were able to throw on different shirts, dresses or skirts over top.

I wish I had brought someone with me to watch this performance as I would have loved to hear someone else’s thoughts on the piece. The audience was definitely not a reliable source of feedback since almost everyone there knew a cast member.

The theme of the Yeats and some other original poems were a great way to explore the subject matter of this show. The script won the first prize in the Hart House Players playwriting competition so maybe I missed something. I enjoyed the concept of the show and I think it has potential, but to me, it’s just not there yet.

Details

Unspoken is playing at Unit 102 (376 Dufferin St) till May 13, 2012
– Performances run from Monday to Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm
– Tickets are $15 for adults or $10 for senior and students
– Tickets are available by emailing unspokentheatrecompany@gmail.com or by calling (647) 770-3837 . (Note: It’s a small venue so reservations are a good idea)