John and Beatrice by Carole Fréchette

Dates and Venue 16 November - 9 December 2007 @ 20.00 | The Vancouver Playhouse

Director Del Surjik Sets Yvan Morissette Lighting Adrian Muir Sound Patrick Pennefather Projections Tim Matheson Costumes Karen Mirfield Puppets Cathy Stubington / Runaway Moon Stage Manager Jethelo E. Cabillette

Reviewer Jane Penistan

Pi Theatre presents this Western Canadian premiere at the newly opened theatre at the top floor of the recently opened PAL building. ( Yes -- there is an elevator.) Pi is generously donating this production free of charge to introduce Vancouver to its newest theatre. Del Surjik is the artistic director of Pi Theatre and the recently announced new artistic director of Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon. He directs John and Beatrice.

An intriguing poster appears in a town. ”Notice to all men in the city: Well-to-do young heiress, intelligent and perceptive, who has never loved anyone, neither her father, her mother, nor even her cat, nor her aunt from the States …nor her maid Janine….nor the fourteen different lovers she has had during fourteen years of sexual activity, is seeking a man who will interest, move and seduce her. In that order. SUBSTANTIAL REWARD OFFERED. All interested parties apply to the 33rd floor….” It's enough to make one go up to the 33rd floor out of sheer curiosity.

In a barely furnished, undecorated room with a skyline cityscape view, this strange woman awaits gentlemen callers. Will anyone come? How vulnerable is a lonely single woman, and what drives her to advertize thus?

John (Vincent Gale) comes to try to claim the substantial reward, all that seems to interest him. Beatrice (Karen Rae) takes his photograph with a Polaroid camera and puts it with others on one of the walls.

A bounty hunter, he has come well prepared to entertain the lady, for out of is black briefcase, during the evening, appear a sheath-knife and puppets, both of which can be menacing. He tells fantastic stories to fulfil the three challenges the voluble and narcoleptic Beatrice presents to him. Despite her long hair, this is no Rapunzle in this tower.

Here is a fascinating and entertaining play with an unexpected dénouement, exceptionally well performed by this excellent cast of two.

© 2007 Jane Penistan