One Good Marriage, written by Toronto playwright Sean Reycraft, was the winner of NOW Magazine’s award for Outstanding New Play at the 2002 Summerworks Festival. So I was very eager to check out Staircase Theatre’s production at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival and am I ever glad I did.
Becky Shrimpton and Matthew Gin are absolute top-notch performers. The show relies on a lot of overlapping dialogue between the two of them and they nailed it. They had this amazing ability to go on a run of thoughts interconnected by overlapping dialogue and differing opinions. They managed to hold the audience in the palm of their hands while taking us on their emotional journey. The moments of comedy and tragedy wove their way in and out and I was fully along for the ride.
What I really loved, was how clear, concise, well thought out and well-played all of the transitions were both in story and sentiment. They completed each others thoughts both spoken and unspoken so seamlessly; like a true married couple would. Their secret conversations and asides, the reassuring touches, and private glances to one another felt so authentic I could imagine their back stories and reasons for existing. Their chemistry felt real.
I found myself fighting back tears more than once, feeling their exhaustion and their pain as they invited us into their lives. I could see the cracks in their relationship, the moments of weakness which they so subtly and expertly executed at any given turn and the he said/she said storytelling, so perfectly choreographed, it was like they were dancing.
There were so many extreme highs and lows, curveballs and twists in this play but there wasn’t a single moment where I didn’t know exactly how they were feeling. The build up and tension between them, at times, was so intense I thought I would burst.
As soon as the show was over, I just wanted to run right up to those actors and give them a big, swooping hug in gratitude for baring their souls and bringing their “A” game. If I could have, I would have also thanked the director, Jessica Rose, for carefully crafting the neat, little package I just witnessed and the playwright for writing this darkly humorous, and gut-wrenching piece of award-winning theatre.
In my opinion, this show is an absolute must see. The clarity and depth that these actors achieve in their storytelling are a true testament to their skill and talent as well-trained, polished actors. Keep these guys on your radar and run to see this show before word gets around and tickets sell out.
- One Good Marriage is playing until July 12th at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church (427 Bloor St.West)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money saving tickets and passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
- Warnings: Mature Language
- July 03 at 07:30 PM
- July 04 at 07:30 PM
- July 05 at 07:30 PM
- July 08 at 07:30 PM
- July 09 at 07:30 PM
- July 10 at 07:30 PM
- July 11 at 07:30 PM
- July 12 at 02:00 PM
- July 12 at 07:30 PM
Photo of Becky Shrimpton and Matthew Gin