Company: The 28th Minute, Winnipeg, MB
Venue: Venue #17 - PTE – Colin Jackson Studio
Lyle Kessler's Orphans is a rich bouillabaisse. I was transported during most of this 90-minute gem.
Lyle Kessler's Orphans is a rich bouillabaisse borrowing elements of Lord of the Flies, Waiting for Godot, almost anything by Sam Shepard, and the mythology of Adam and Eve. Two orphans - the elder Treat, desperately in need of anger management, and the younger Phillip, cloistered by his belief in the fatality of his own allergies - share a mugging-to-mouth existence in North Philadelphia.
When chance, and Treat's belief that he has successfully kidnapped a rich man, send them the worldly Harold, the brothers' tiny world cannot survive the encounter.
Justin Fry seethes as the barely contained emotional wreck that is Treat. The first time AJ McCulloch's Philip looks longingly at his empty jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise, you can almost hear his tapeworm singing him a lullaby and imagine the depth of his daily canned tuna-induced fragility.
The confident experience of Bill Kerr's Harold is evident immediately upon his entrance and is borne out to the finish. Doing what he does in the final scene is very simple and straightforward and immensely difficult to pull off. Kerr succeeds.
I was transported during most of this 90-minute gem. If I have any recommendations for co-directors Kevin Ramberran and Thomas Toles, it would merely be to have Fry and McCulloch grasp more firmly to their characters during their scene changes. Kerr's maintenance of Harold through his signature lounge lizard crooning make his time in the dark natural and seamless. This is strong work all around.