REVIEW: Marion Bridge by Many Hats Theatre Company

Three sisters come together to take care of their ailing mother in a stirring and laugh-filled rendition of Daniel McIvor's Marion Bridge.

(Left to right) Megan Kimberley

(Left to right) Megan Kimberley

The relationships between siblings can often be be complicated.

Complicated is putting it lightly when it comes to the three sisters in Daniel MacIvor’s Maritime play Marion Bridge.

Agnes, a fledgling actor living in Toronto, Theresa, a nun, and Louise, who has a penchant for driving big trucks and watching television, make up the estranged sisters who have no choice but to come together in their childhood home on the East Coast to care for their ailing mother.

The play opened to dim stage lights revealing Agnes, played by Megan Kimberley, drunk in the dark and sitting on a suitcase having just arrived back home. Agnes is swigging shots from a mickey from the outset and Kimberley did an excellent and energetic job portraying a character who spends the entirety of the first act wildly drunk with a swinging pendulum of emotions.

The story only leaves the wonderfully quaint set of an East Coast kitchen once, yet the audio cues and a quippy script create a large and engaging surrounding world.

Marion bridge only features a cast of three with characters and events that take place off stage. The well played dialogue successfully brought the illusion to light including a satirical television drama that two of the sisters take turns getting begrudgingly addicted to.

The dynamics between the sisters is the cause of much hilarity and the players did a precise job of nailing the timing for many of the subtle punchlines. The plot started out simple but as the play progresses secrets and motives are revealed adding a layer of depth to the characters with the end of each scene.

Jordana Fratianni who played Louise is a newcomer to Many Hats and embodied the character marvellously. Her emotionally charged monologue prior to intermission showcased her clear range and ability.

Christa Phillips playing the sister Theresa was another example of the excellent job done casting the play. Phillips brought the complexities of her character to life juggling the forces of faith and family.

Kudos to director Jane Pilkey and producer Ben Amos for capturing the subtleties of a script that has you laughing one minute and crying the next.

Dale Boyd is the Arts and Entertainment Editor at the Penticton Western News.


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