Firehall Arts Centre and
By George F. Walker
Directed by Fif Fernandes
Until Feb. 3, 2001
Tix & Info: 689-0926
TIMELESS TOPICS WITH A TWIST
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. Walkers 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 50s. 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 Powers 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 Poohs 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 Levesques 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.