by Lynn on April 17, 2019

in The Passionate Playgoer

NOTE: While the play has closed it does deserve comment.


Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, Ont.,

Written by Sarah Burgess

Directed by Angela Besharah

Set and costumes by Jung-Hye Kim

Lighting by André du Toit

Original music by Ian LeFeuvre and Jasper Gahunia

Cast: Christef Desir

Peter Keleghan

Rebecca Liddiard

Greg White

A brittle, predictable play about the cut-throat world of high-finance and private equity funds. Terrific cast.

 The Story. Rick is the head of a private equity fund who needs to make a killing in a deal. He’s smarting because the press recently reported on a lavish engagement party he threw, complete with one elephant that cost a ton of money, just as he was responsible for firing a lot of people. A deal is brought to him by an associate named Seth. A respectable businessman named Jeff wants to sell his business but needs assurance his workers will not be fired and the ethics of the company will be followed. Rick’s other associate, Jenny—a cold, calculating young woman who takes no prisoners—crunches the numbers and wants Rick to be ruthless. Seth, the good-guy has compassion. Who wins?

 The Production. Jung-Hye Kim’s set of Rick’s office is dark brown, spiffy in a cold sort of way and totally without any softening mementos. Rick (Peter Keleghan) enters wearing a smart suit and crisp shirt. He has the look and demeanor of a man of power, money and position and the charm that doesn’t put people off. He’s been rattled by the recent attention of the press to his excessive spending.

Jenny (Rebecca Liddiard) enters wearing a pencil slim black skirt, crisp white shirt and heels. Jenny as wonderfully played by Rebecca Liddiard, is without a shred of sentiment, compassion or even consideration of others. Her focus is on making money no matter how. She destroys opposition with cutting remarks, honing in on the jugular, and finding their weakness and going in for the kill. She crunches numbers with efficiency. No one has a chance against her, certainly not Seth, (Christef Desir) who is also an associate in Rick’s firm. He does have compassion and a gift for dealing with people. Seth brings Jeff (Greg White) to Rick hoping a deal to buy Jeff’s company can work out. As played by Greg White, Jeff is laid back, humble, quietly determined that the workers be protected and not fired, downsized, discarded, etc.

Angela Besharah directs in a very stylized way. Entrances and exists are regimented. Characters march up to the exit and make a sharp right turn into the wings, as if on army manoeuvres; ditto when they enter. It’s almost as if Besharah is directing them as if they are robots. Often a character would be downstage looking at the audience but having a conversation with someone up stage, looking at the back of the person downstage. Awkward, albeit deliberate. The positioning does convey a coldness and lack of connection these characters have with each other, but it all seems so stilted.

Sarah Burgess has certainly written a bracing play full of the lingo of high-finance (Dry Powder is the remaining capital in a private equity fund) and the total lack of integrity and moral responsibility to be ethical. Rick and Jenny certainly don’t. Seth does and while Jeff appears to be a man of integrity, he too turns without warning and becomes just as money-grubbing as Rick and Jenny. That last bit is a weakness in the play—it comes seemingly from no-where.

At times though Burgess’ play is too clever by half and it looks more like Burgess is trying to show off with her linguistic dexterity rather than writing a play that is not so predictable.

Comment. This is the first production of Evermore Theatre Co. and the company of actors did a splendid job of taking an in-your-face-play and running with it. Some suggestions: It would be helpful to put the name of the theatre where this play is playing ion the program cover. I can’t find the name anywhere.. The dates of the run would be nice on the program. Also, a contact number or e-mail would be helpful too to order tickets should someone want to do that. This program is a perfect way of promoting the show. If there is no info on where it’s playing, how to get tickets and the dates of the run, the company makes it difficult for an audience to want to see the play or tell friends.

Produced by Evermore Theatre Co.



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