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Fare Trade Theatre Society 

Janet Allard's Untold Tales of Insomniacs

Co-directors Tim Bellefleur and Christopher Langmuir Scene & Lighting Designer Mimi Abrahams Costumes Andrea Painter Sound Tim Bellefleur Stage Manager Jenny Margueratt

Featuring Devan Vancise, Lopa Sircar, James Dai, Amanda Marier, zi paris, Alex Chu, Esther Cohen

Dates  19 - 29 July 2006, 8 pm Venue The Beaumont Playhouse, 316 West 5th Avenue

Reviewer Erin Jane

Lopa Sircar

Fair Trade Theatre Society presented Untold Crimes of Insomniacs by playwright Janet Allard at an extremely quaint venue. The Beaumont Studios on 5th Avenue and Alberta is a small 60-seat theatre with a lot of character – most of the seats are antique movie theatre chairs bolted down crudely for the audience’s comfort.

Forewarned that the play would be “surreal,” I was surprised to find such an elaborate set. A brick theme clearly stood out, but the set felt mildly cluttered (probably because the stage was quite small). That said, once the show began I barely gave this another thought, and altogether I thought the set was effective.

A few minutes into the play it was obvious that directors Tim Bellefleur and Christopher Langmuir had chosen an excellent script. In fact, I found myself wishing I’d read the play ahead of time. The dark comedy kept me amply interested, and unfolded rather quickly before my eyes. I hate to be too critical with regards to the acting, since the show I attended was a preview, and only midway through the performance did the actors definitely start to gain momentum and more comfort in their parts.

However, it seemed as though the actors and directors were so enthusiastic and hopeful that such a strong script would perhaps perform itself, that nobody seemed to have put in the time to develop a cohesive theme for how the characters would be portrayed. The end result was that understanding each character relied heavily on dialogue instead of acting and portrayal. While luckily that was true, just a few actors pulled their weight – particularly James Dai, who did an excellent job portraying the optimistic and naïve cop looking for perfection in everyone he sees.

Definitely worth seeing, the play itself was strongly thematic and left me rather affected. The music complemented the story well, and I can only hope that by the last performances, The Fair Trade Theatre Society will have developed a strong show worth the price of admission.

© 2006 Erin Jane