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Theatre Terrific

Naked Oranges
By Susannah Uchatius

Director and Choreographer Susannah Uchatius Composer Joel Destefano Set and costumes Darlene Brookes Lighting Jeff Harrison Stage Manager Jenn Hogg

Dates 28 February - 5 March 2006 Venue Performance Works, Granville Island Reviewer Jane Penistan

Colin Carney and Kim Seary; photo by Gavin Jung

Theatre Terrific presents an unusual and enchanting performance in its premier of Naked Oranges. From the haunting and mystical music of the opening to the dying away of the last faint notes, this play holds the audience in thrall.

The first enchanter is the Orange Man (Salah Kharief), a dark complexioned, exotically dressed figure seated on one side of the stage, quietly peeling an orange and tossing the skin to wards the upstage bridge. On the other side of the stage, high on a pedestal is Squirlley-cue (Candice Larscheid), as still as a statue. Is she a statue or is she alive?

Protruding from the bridge wall is a pair of boot, just visible. The boots belong to Wide Eyes who stands and prevents other characters who enter, from crossing the bridge. They all have to go round past Squirlley-cue to get to the Orange Man. Some are fearful of him, as is the singing Womom, (Janet Scott) and refuse his offer of fruit.

Friendlier is Yin (Kim Seary). She tries to talk to Squirlley-cue but is rebuffed. She accepts a gift from the Orange Man and talks with him, while he throws orange peel shards towards the bridge in response to roars emanating from it.

In response to coaxing from the Orange Man, an angry man (Ash Reeder) emerges. While others eat oranges and talk Curly-cue shouts abuse. The Man rages at her, but Yin suggest that a little patience and kindness is all that she needs. An indeed it is so. The man now feeds her orange segments and is gentle with her.

Womom returns and Finnegan has arrived and crossed the bridge with Wide Eyes’ help and is happy to accept the gift of the Orange Man. From under the bridge appears Yang (Colin Carney), who enacts the story of the Alligator, the Boy and the Grandfather. This is a brilliant physical performance. Womom and the Orange Man sing a mystical duet, their beautiful voices complementing each other.

The man encourages Squirlley-cue to trust him and he and Yang lift her from her pedestal so that she is on the same level as everyone else, one of the company accepted and accepting in trust and friendship. The intelligent script, truthful playing by the actors, who perform as a company, and the music make this a memorable evening.

© 2006 Jane Penistan