Review: Echoes (Un-Happy Radish Co-op/Sterling Studio Theatre Collective)

Insanity and intensity shine in Echoes currently playing at Toronto’s Sterling Studio Theatre

I watched Echoes last night at an unexpected, intimate little theatre on Sterling Street. The show was suggested by my friend and as soon as I read the description I said, “This is not something I would have ever picked out to watch but let’s give it a shot.”

I’m so glad I did. Lately, every time I watch something outside of my comfort zone I’m pleasantly surprised.

The show is intense right from the get go. At first the barren stage, the bright almost clinical white lights and the loud dialogue delivery of the actors had the feeling of nails on a chalkboard to me. I kept thinking this is going to be a long two hours.

And then, I’m not sure exactly when it happened but it couldn’t have been longer than a few minutes, I was completely drawn in. The plot follows two live-in patients at an asylum – Samuel (Noah Davis) and Tilda (Carleigh Beverly) – who share not only a room but also an imaginary life filled with wonderful games of pretend.

How they got there is never quite clear but we get little glimpses into their psyche. The acting is truly mind blowing. These two played “crazy” so increibly well. Whether they were throwing a fit, being beat-up by imaginary people, donning multiple personalities or almost remembering painful and out of reach memories they did it perfectly. The emotion that comes through in Beverly’s eyes is hypnotizing.

I should also mention the Person played by Nathan Mitchell. He is excellently creepy in his small silent part, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be.

This is the kind of show that you walk away from and marvel at the sheer talent in the indie theatre scene in Toronto.

After the show we had a chance to talk to the actors and the crew and they mentioned that a lot of people have seen the show more than once. I can totally see that, because the first time around you’re just so caught up in following the action that you can’t even begin to peel away the layers of the story. I’m still trying to put it all together.

My show partner Saira – who generally doesn’t like anything or is just plain jinxed when it comes to shows – loved the production. She felt the intensity overwhelming at times but couldn’t get over how good the acting was. She said she couldn’t take her eyes off Beverly.

I hope you get a chance to see this gem of a show. The theatre is lovely and so are the people. And with PWYC wine it’s a win-win!

Details

Echoes is playing at Sterling Studio Theatre (163 Sterling Rd, North Alley Entrance) till December 1, 2012
– Shows run from November 21 to December 1 at 8pm, there is no show on Monday, November 26, 2012
– Tickets are $20
– Tickets can be purchased online or at the door

Photo Carleigh Beverly and Noah Davis by Inside Light Studio