|| Print ||
|Written by Wayne Current|
|Monday, 22 June 2009 10:31|
I’ve been a follower of Nancy Kenny’s blog for a couple of months now, so it seemed fitting to kick off the festival with No Exit Upstage – a play that she not only wrote, but is also performing in.
Like many opening nights at the Fringe, the performance was offered as a 2-for-1 package. At $10 a ticket, the Fringe is already good value, so this deal is nothing less than spectacular. I was unable to take advantage of the special, however, because my friends bailed at the last minute, forcing me to fly solo!
Fortunately, the good natured volunteers at the front of house were amazing. I was introduced to a fellow theatergoer in a similar situation, and she was kind enough to give me her other ticket. I enthusiastically accepted. Free show! Score!
These kinds of random positive encounters are what the Fringe is all about; you never know what will happen or who you will meet. By the end of the night, I had made several new Fringe friends that I’m sure I’ll run into during the remainder of the festival. Probably at the beer tent. (That’s how I roll.)
With No Exit Upstage, Ms. Kenny has written a solid script with many funny moments. The play is about two roommates auditioning for the same role at the same time, and the narrative is as much about their relationship with theatre as it is about their relationship with each other. Much of the humour is targeted at those familiar with theatrical productions, but there are also jokes that anyone can enjoy. I laughed out loud several times. It is worth noting, however, that the overall tone of the play is actually quite serious.
The script’s approach to the relationships is sophisticated, and the dialogue flows nicely from comical moments to emotionally poignant scenes. That being said, the ending is a little overly theatrical and abrupt. The strong script would have had more of a lasting impact had it gone for a more subtle finish.
The cast had a few opening-night jitters, resulting in some uneven performances early on, but this is perfectly understandable given that it was the first staging of an original play. Once they settled in, both Nancy Kenny and Natasha Jetté delivered satisfying performances. They are compelling actors and I enjoyed watching their characters' relationship unfold.
Ken Godmere’s direction is also solid, especially his effective use of the stage. One scene in particular – where both characters are speaking in a simultaneous monologue – is quite powerful. It’s a beautiful piece of poetry inserted into the performance, and the play is worth seeing for that moment alone.
I highly recommend that you go see No Exit Upstage… and look for me in the beer tent afterwards!
Scratch Cards Productions’ No Exit Upstage is playing at Venue 3 of the Fringe Festival (135 Seraphin-Marion) at the