Company: Theatre by the River, Winnipeg, MB
Venue: 12 - WAG - Muriel Richardson Auditorium
"7 Stories" is a slick and entertaining show that would have to jump from a little higher to leave a lasting impression.
is an engaging and entertaining show that would have to jump from a little higher to leave a lasting impression.
A man stands on a building ledge before seven windows, contemplating what he will do next--guess how high up he is. For the next 90 minutes the residents who live, love and lapse into paranoia behind those windows thrust their neuroses at the cypher outside, usually without even bothering to ask why he's there.
The Laugh-In-meets-Beckett set is superbly realized. The crack ensemble of actors slips deftly in and out of several characters apiece, establishing a clear persona for each one. Jaclyn Kurceba and Mel Marginet stand out, as does Derek Leenhouts as the single-role everyman the ensemble revolves around. Leenhouts has almost nothing to say for the first 60 minutes, but holds the centre with an expressiveness and physicality that brought Chaplin and Keaton to mind.
If this praise all seems too technical, perhaps it's because Morris Panych's award-winning 1989 script left me feeling cold. When we finally do find out why the man is there, it's less interesting than what precedes it, and the magical realist ending feels more like dissolution than conclusion.