A love triangle in Ireland at the height “The Troubles“, a woman caught in the fold struggling with the choice between a life of safety and the love of her country is the focal point in this intensely entertaining SummerWorks play, The Frenzy of Queen Maeve. Playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre, this production takes a poignant look at political and personal struggles fit for a youth audience.
The story is told by Asling (Ewa Wolniczek), an Irish 20-something who has fallen in love with two men, William (James Aaron), the son of a wealthy English landowner, and Fionn (Giacomo Gianiotti), a member of the IRA. As the love blooms between Asling and her two suitors, the decision she is forced to make spirals rapidly away from her resulting in a disastrous finale.
Being Asling’s story, the production is played out in her monologue accented by flashbacks with the other actors. Through her eyes we see the racial backlash between English and Irish conflicts, the often misplaced pride often found in the heat of revolution, and a young woman, confused with the magnitude of her decision, with the direction of her life, with the follies of being in love and the life of the unborn child she carries.
I was compelled by the performance of Wolniczek who carried the show, never once leaving the stage. The pain in her eyes resonated and captured the audience, locking us to her and her dilemma. Her issue is one that many can find themselves, in some way, relating, too. I also admired the performances of Aaron and Gianiotti but found their accents slightly lacking. A tip of the hat to the use of the stage that remained static but managed to pull multiple duties as a pub, cobbled streets, seaside, and residence.
The performance comes with the obligatory warning of mature language, cigarette smoking, and sexual discussion which lends this performance to a mature audience.
The Frenzy of Queen Maeve is a story that will capture and lead, taking the audience on a tragic yet darkly humorous ride touching on a range of emotions, and a definite one to consider during your SummerWorks wanderings.
- The Frenzy of Queen Maeve plays at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Ave.)
- Performances are Monday the 13th at 10 pm, Wednesday the 15 at 7:30 pm, Friday the 17 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday the 19th at 12 pm.
- All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at ticketwise.ca, by phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the Lower Ossington Box Office (located at 100A Ossington Avenue) Mon. – Sun. 12 pm – 7 pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
- Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.