Review: The Foursome (Sterling Studio Theatre)

Sterling Studio Theatre’s The Foursome is an exceptionally acted dark tale of social elitism being performed in Toronto’s Bloordale Village

The Foursome is Sterling Studio Theatre’s opening production for their 2013-2014 season. Dark and poignant, this play chronicles the tale of a social ladder-climbing trio whose lives are turned awry when a young heiress to a snack cake empire joins their tennis ensemble.

While at first the premise may seem a little niche and formulaic, the writing for this piece was exceptionally strong and easily relatable. Playwright and performer Jane Ford was able to accurately depict all the pretense and insincerity that one often associates with trying to maintain a social façade.

“Tell me about her husband”

“Well, he’s handsome.” (Awkward pause)

What made the script stand out from other plays that attempt to deliver a social commentary of high society was Ford’s use of small, personal touches within the show’s dialogue. These touches turned everyday mundane conversations into brilliant depictions of the archetypal relationships we’re all familiar with – whether it’s an overbearing mother or an inattentive friend.

The true strength of this piece was the acting. Each cast member gave exquisite performances with their pacing perfectly synchronized. Ford was exceptional as “Kris” – a middle-aged woman struggling with her sexual identity. Caitlin Driscoll, who played the young heiress “Dylan”, perfectly channeled the epitome of entitlement – from the way she poised her body all the way to her valley-girl intonation. For her part, Kirsten Johnson, who played the role of uptight lawyer “Tanda”, was charming and extremely likable. She actually gave me shivers during one scene where she flew into a bout of uncontrollable rage.

But for me, the standout start of the night was Kathryn Greenwood. Playing the role of substance-abusing news anchor “Jaz”, Greenwood excelled at both the comedic and dramatic aspects of the performance. Without spoiling any of the plot, her ‘moment of truth’ scene towards the end was heartbreaking and endearing. It was at that moment that I truly connected with the subject matter of this piece.

Thoughtfully written and masterfully performed, The Foursome kicked off Sterling Studio Theatre’s season with a bang.

Details

Photo courtesy of Angela Besharah of Inside Light Studios