by Lynn on November 25, 2010

in Archive,Picks & Pans

When our theatre critic Lynn Slotkin, reviews two plays she usually finds something that is common to both of them. I can’t imagine what is common about LENIN’S EMBALMERS and THE GREAT WAR, but Lynn is here to tell us.

Hello Lynn. What’s common about embalmers and THE GREAT WAR?

Both plays deal with historical subjects. LENIN’S EMBALMERS by Vern Thiessen deals with the two scientists who must come up with a way of permanently embalming the body of Russian leader, Vladimir Lenin, so that he can be on display. The play also deals with the political upheaval in Russia when Joseph Stalin takes the power. Stalin wants the embalming.

THE GREAT WAR by Michael Hollingsworth is about Canada’s involvement in World War One, the back room politicking and the human stories of the men who went to fight in Europe.

Both productions use a large dose of humour to tell their stories. And both use a heightened kind of theatricality as well.

Were the plays successful in dealing with their weighty subjects? Let’s start with LENIN’S EMBALMERS.

On the opening night Vern Thiessen was there and was so grateful that the Harold Green Jewish theatre was producing the play because as he said, it was tricky—the play was. I would disagree. I just think it’s a really bad play and there’s no trick to that.

LENIN’S EMBALMERS plays at the Al Green Theatre until November 21. THE GREAT WAR continues at the Cameron House through November at least.