Pink Sugar by Natalie Meisner

Dates 7 – 16 February 2008 (Preview 7 February) Tues-Sat @ 8pm; matinees Sun 10 February and Sat 16 February @ 3pm Venue Performance Works, 1218 Cartwright Street, Granville Island

Reviewer Ed Farolan

There weren't many in attendance during the matinee performance last 10 February, and that was perhaps why the audience was not very enthusiastic about this play, which makes its world premiere here in Vancouver. Mind you, the play was well acted and well directed, but the lukewarm reception may have had to do with the play itself being disorganized and even a bit chaotic.

There were also too many multimedia effects, some of which were meant to be funny but didn't really come across as such. Using multimedia seems to be the trend of "new age" playwrights/directors, but it's really passé. It's also hard to decide whether the play was a comedy or a tragedy. Probably a tragedy with moments of comedy.

Moya O´Connell who plays Elan, the sexy prostitute in pink from Moldavia, sported a fantastic Eastern European accent, and I was a bit flabbergasted by the risqué scene of taking off her panties (but she had another set of panties inside. So, gents, don´t get too aroused.

The kissing scenes between her and David Beazely and between Laara Sadiq and Scott Bellis worked well. There was no artificiality -- they clearly felt comfortable with each other, a sign of great acting.

The play isn't a complete flop. It has an interesting storyline and its themes are contemporary: human-trafficking in Eastern Europe, illegal arms deals, and human organs clandestinely sold. However, there was a vague connection which the playwright was attempting to portray between the four characters who were all somewhat interconnected with the plot.

The dénouement was ill prepared and came too soon, as though conjuring the Greeck deus ex machina in order to fit the play into a 90-minute or less slot. This is a good play, but needs worked on a bit more.

© 2008 Ed Farolan