I kicked off my Fringe circuit with a production of Inge Snapshots: Still Life in Mid America Mid Century by The Remnants at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse. Playwright William Inge essentially wrote the same play twice so last night’s performance was a double bill of Bus Riley’s Back in Town and Glory in the Flower.
Set in the early 1950s in Mid-America, two lovers reunite after many years of not seeing each other. Both are haunted by their former romance and meet up to understand where life has taken them since the end of their relationship. Each play offers up a different perspective.
Bus Riley’s Back in Town is set in the Fiesta Room of the Hotel Boomerang in Texas and tends to suggest that the years apart have brought much more pain and emptiness to the heartbroken Jackie Loomis (Katharine McLeod). Glory in the Flower, set in the Paradise Roadhouse in Illinois paints more of an optimistic picture for Jackie as she comes to terms with the past to bring hope for the future.
I like that the company set a very clear tone from the second you walk into the theatre. You immediately feel like you’ve walked into an old western saloon and at once look forward for what’s to come. The writing was also superb. Both plays have very different feels to them and it was interesting to see fresh perspectives on the same story. In terms of acting, I was generally impressed. I thought both Katharine McLeod in the role of Jackie Loomis and Suzette McCanny as Bernice Henry were particularly enjoyable.
There were times, however, where I thought the pace was quite slow, but it was mostly apparent in the first of the two plays. I thought everyone could have picked up cues a bit more throughout. In Glory in the Flower, the purpose of the characters of Joker and Girl weren’t clear to me, possibly because I found their blocking a little confusing.
That being said, it was still an enjoyable night at the theatre. If you’re looking for something fun and lighthearted, this is the perfect opportunity.
- Inge Snapshots: Still Life in Mid America Mid Century plays at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79A St. George Street)
- Show times:
July 05 08:45 PM
July 07 01:30 PM
July 10 11:00 PM
July 11 07:45 PM
July 12 01:45 PM
July 13 12:00 PM
- All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at the Fringe Club, 581 Bloor St. W, July 3rd-14th, noon – 10pm (Advance tickets are $11 – $9+$2 service charge)
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.