Index Top Bar



Dates 27 April - 6 May 2006 at 8 pm Venue Performance Works, Granville Island

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Collectively created by Section 8 and Studio 58 students, this play was originally performed two years ago under the directorship of Kevin MacDonald and Craig Hall. This time around, it was only Hall who directed it. The play was inspired by the American author/illustrator Edward Gorey (1925-2000) who had written more than a hundred gothic fables intricately illustrated, most of them in verse.

The Section 8 and Studio 58 group adapted his works which illustrate interesting characters: the eccentric, the witty, and the macabre; oftentimes odd, mysterious, and, in the case of the performers, very funny. Gorey's works truly are a venue for an actor. The verses were kept in this adaptation, and the ensemble story-telling was truly delightful.

The mysterious atmosphere ambience that opens the play reminded me of Disney's Haunted House, although this production was somewhat more sophisticated despite the intimate stage's simplicity. The actors' diction was flawless: I understood everything they said despite the fact that some had their backs turned towards me.

These seasoned actors were indeed brilliant in their mastery of the Edwardian style of voice, gestures and movement, tongue-in-cheek style, mimicking perhaps those melodramas of yesteryears. Rebecca Ananda (Eleanor Stipple) was remarkable in her role; she reminded me of Lorca's character, Bernarda Alba. Evangela Dueck (Mirella Stipple) was funny in an eccentric and morose way, as was Donna Soares (Tawnon Stipple).

Gemma Isaac (Edith the Maid) was the main story-teller in this play. Her pacing and delivery of lines were perfect, and her lines were clearly audible. Daryl King (Proctor Gritch) was just right for the role of the dashing, fast-talking salesman whose only ambition was to climb the social ladder. Cat Main (Lucy Stipple) unmistakably played the role of a child to a T. Stacie Steadman (Dora Stipple) was indeed extraordinary in her role as the oppressed sister. And last but not least was the amazing acting ability of Lee Vincent (Henry Stipple), playing the role of the fanatic clergyman.

Lighting Designer Itai Erdal was really on his toes with flawless timing of his spotlights. Ananda, Dueck, Isaac, Soares and Steadman originally created this play and acted in it when it premiered in 2004.

Congratulations to the actors, the director and the technical staff for a brilliant and first-rate production!

© 2006 Ed Farolan