Relephant Theatre Co-Op
The Exquisite Hour by Stewart Lemoine

Dates and Venue 1 – 12 May 2012, Tues - Sun at 8pm, Sat at 2pm and Sun at 4pm | The Revue Stage, 1601 Johnston Street, on Granville Island

Director Julie McIsaac Costume Design Jessie van Rijn Lighting Design Ian Schimpf
Sound Design Steven Greenfield

Reviewer Nancie Ottem

The Exquisite Hour deserves a standing ovation. It is bright, sassy and smart theatre. The smart tone was set in the lobby of the Revue Stage as guests arrived. Women dressed in 60’s fashions glided around the lobby giving a sense of anticipation for the play that was to unfold. A table of small mason jars which were filled with lemonade and topped off with a straw foretold a summer afternoon.

The set (Jessie van Rijn) was minimalist but effective with a white picket fence, privet shrubs, two white deck chairs and a drinks trolley offering the backdrop against which the actors played out their roles.

The simplicity of the set reflected the innocence of the 60’s. This era was also noted in the dialogue with references to paper boys and mail left exposed in the mail slot signifying nothing more serious than crumbled mail rather than the identity fraud it means today. Josue Laboucane playing the bachelor Zachary Teale and Nevada Yates Robart playing the encyclopedia saleswoman Helen Darimont held the attention of the audience immediately. Both of these talented actors projected a sense that we were watching real people engaged in an everyday event. We could feel the anxiety and timidity of the bachelor and we were enchanted by the personality of Helen. There were many funny moments in this play where the audience laughed heartily and the references to life in the sixties pointed out how much things have changed.

In this, the play appeals to a broad age range and texture is added to the production. As the hour unfolded we were at one with the characters and really engaged in the interaction between Helen and Zachary. As the hour was coming to its close we realize that something remarkable was happening.

A message is revealed within The Exquisite Hour as well as a delightful surprise. This is a feel good play with a meaningful message. The acting is real. It just does not get much better than this.

© 2012 Nancie Ottem