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Firehall Arts Centre and Chutney Productions


By George F. Walker

Directed by Fif Fernandes

Until Feb. 3, 2001

Tix & Info: 689-0926


By June Heywood

In the presence of fine acting, the line disappears between the audience and the stage. Many times on Friday evenings the boundaries blur. I was eavesdropping on dysfunctional characters and hilarious scenes.

Filthy Rich is the second in George F. Walker’s The Power Plays Trilogy. The topics covered are timeless – corruption, sex, and murder. The main character is Tyrone Power, a heavy -drinking, slob of a failed-writer-cum-reluctant-private-eye with a special fondness for his mother and fancy dames in the style of a Raymond Chandler detective.

Although this play is supposed to be set in no special era, the social statements are entrenched in the 50’s. The name "Tyrone Power" is an oxymoron. He has no power. Alvin Sanders plays the part well by staying in character as the eternal pessimist and remembering all his lines while on stage throughout the play. No small feat as the action is complex with much of it happening off stage and reported through too-lengthy dialogue.

The story involves a mayoralty race between a father and son. One is honest, the other corrupt. One of them has been kidnapped. Two sisters, Anne and Susan Scott, separately storm into Power’s office seeking his help. Donna Spencer plays Anne Scott. She is a generation older than her “sister” and she fluffs her lines in a wooden performance.

Donna Yamamoto as Susan Scott is the lithe and sexy love interest/baddy who vamps, pouts and grins exaggeratedly across the stage in skin-tight clothes. The part of Henry “The Pig” Duvall is played way over the top by bug-eyed Parm Soor who is so bad that I burst into laughter each time he appears. The part is such a spoof .

In contrast to Power, Jamie Mc Lean (Norman Yeung) is the eternal optimist and self-appointed sidekick. As the (over) acting sleuth, he bounds and bounces across the stage like Winnie the Pooh’s friend Tigger.

When Hamish Boyd as Police Detective Stackhouse enters the scene, the barriers melt. Boyd plays his part so neatly as the tough, hard-bitten cop he is a delight to observe.

Sharron Levesque’s scenery is cartoonish. Great chunks are taken out of the wall plaster in almost perfect symmetry. The dusty old horizontal blinds look as though they have been put through a wringer in a previous scene. The fish tank (although mentioned in the play) is s-o-o-o passé. And the props range over a period of thirty years.

Despite its glaring faults, I laughed all the way through Filthy Rich. For me, it worked on the level of an over-the-top comedy (although it is meant to be a study in theatrical style).

Another twist is that Chutney Productions is a newly formed group “dedicated to the advancement of theatrical artists and cultural workers of diverse race and ethnicity.” This objective redeems the production.

Revista Filipina