by Lynn on March 8, 2012

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Tarragon Theatre, Mainspace until April 8. Written by Carole Fréchette. Translated by John Murrell. Directed by Weyni Mengesha. Designed by Astrid Janson. Lighting by Bonnie Beecher. Sound by Thomas Ryder Payne. Starring: Claire Calnan, Sarah Dodd, Raquel Duffy, Rick Roberts and Nicole Underhay.

Playwright Carole Fréchette is a tease.

She has written an initially fascinating play that looks like a variation on the Bluebeard story. A handsome rich man named Henry, marries a golden girl named Grace, promising her the moon but telling her that she can go anywhere in their 26 room house, except in that small room at the top of the stairs. And he doesn’t tell her why, or what’s in there.

Well, Grace is curious, isn’t she? That’s when the trouble starts. While Fréchette’s writing is poetic, sharp and vivid, she teases us by leading us down corridor after corridor hinting at what her play is about. Is it a mystery? A ghost story? A metaphor? An allegory? All of them? Too much, and after a while, tiresome.

The cast, however is stellar, lead by a dimple-cheeked, compelling Nicole Underhay. Weyni Mengesha’s direction is confident, vivid and results in an evocative, provocative production.

Full review of THE SMALL ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS on Friday, March 9 between 9 am and 10 am on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING, 89.5 FM

And later on the blog.

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