Virginia in bed and Vanessa sitting at the end of the bed
May 15, 2021

Theatre for audiences both old and young

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Westmount Mag reviews Virginia Wolf: “Lots of physical theatre, grimacing and movement which entrance kiddie audiences.”

Read on WestmountMag.ca: Theatre for audiences both old and young
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GEORDIE THEATRE’S VIRGINIA WOLF AND NEW YORK BEDLAM THEATER’S ANNA KARENINA

By Byron Toben

“Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” wrote Greek philosopher Plato around 360 BCE. To me, appreciation of theatre also lies in the eyes (also ears and memories) of audiences. This occurred to me in catching two plays ending this weekend, Virginia Wolf and Anna Karenina.

The first, loosely based on a story about British Author Virginia Woolf having a sister was streamed by Montreal’s Geordie Theatre and the latter by New York’s Bedlam Theater adapted from the famous novel by Leo Tolstoy.

VIRGINIA WOLF

Although Geordie had its origin in 1980, created by Elsa Bolam as a children’s theatre and is still active as such, particularly with its touring productions, it has had some impressive shows for the general public, such as Around The World in 80 Days and It’s A Wonderful Life.

While some production aspects can be appreciated by senior theatre goers, Virginia Wolf is primarily for kids ages 6 and up. Virginia (Jennifer Roberts) has initiated a housebound regime (nothing to do with COVID-19) and taken to staying in bed and growling or howling, with heavy curtains blocking the windows, a device not seen since Miss Haversham doing same in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.

Her older sister, Vanessa (Alexandria Laferrière) enters often to try to cure her by music therapy (violin) and art therapy (painting) to little avail. Lots of physical theatre, grimacing and movement which entrance kiddie audiences.

The play was written by Cole Lewis based on a Governor General’s award written story by Kyo Maclear and directed by Mike Payette.

Virginia Wolf ends its streamed run at 4 pm on May 16 but should do well on future tours.

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