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Ruby Slippers Theatre

The Leisure Society
By Francois Archambault
Translated by Bobby Theodore

Director Diane Brown Set designYvan Morissette Visuals Tim Matheson Costume design Sheila White Lighting Itai Erdal Sound Amos Hertzman Paintings Skai Fowler Stage Manager Kelly Barker

Dates 25 March - 9 April Venue Performance Works, Granville Island
Reviewer Jane Penistan

Scott Bellis, as Peter, and Colleen Wheeler as Mary

This West Coast premiere of Archambault’s The Leisure Society presents a biting satire on comfortable, present day, middle class life style.

Directed by Diane Brown the small cast performs in Yvan Morisette’s tasteful, interior designer’s concept for contemporary living. Particularly attractive here are Skai Fowler’s paintings. Sheila White has dressed the cast to reflect and enhance each individual’s characters. This applies not only to the women, but also to the men. As always, Itai Erdal lights the short scenes with well chosen variations, always enhancing each scene with his subtle illumination. Amos Hertzman adds approppriate music and sound to this already excellent setting.

The cast, Scott Bellis, as Peter, and Colleen Wheeler as Mary, are the well dressed couple who own the modish apartment,and are visited by Mark, Robert Maloney, and Paula, Hazel Venzon.

What ensues between the couples and what the tension of “keeping up appearances” entails, what breaks down in this process, what is real and what is superficial, all surfaces in the course of the 90 minutes of performance.

The pace of the action is varied and well timed, as are the fast repartee and slower, more thoughtful speeches. The taut and brittle tension is maintained throughout. Three of this cast are well known actors whose excellent work has often been seen in Vancouver. Hazel Venzon, still a student at Studio 58, gives an outstanding performance as Paula. She has a great quality of stillness while cynically observing her elders, and considerable amusement at their behaviour. She is a young lady well able to take care of herself, and has no illusions about the older disillusioned members of the evening’s party.

The Leisure Society is one of the best shows on in town.

© 2006 Jane Penistan