by Lynn on December 1, 2022

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at the Five Points Theatre, from Talk Is Free Theatre, Barrie, Ont. On until Dec. 3, 2022.

Written by Sharr White

Directed by Tracy Michailidis

Set by Joe Pagnan

Lighting by Jeff Pybus

Sound by James Smith

Costumes by Camila Farah

Projections provided by William Coons of The Shaker Bridge Theatre Company

Cast: Troy Adams

Jordin Hall

Glynis Ranney

Evelyn Wiebe

From the Talk Is Free Theatre website: “Juliana Smithton is a respected neurologist whose life has recently begun to unravel. But is everything as it seems? As the play unfolds, Juliana’s facts blur with fiction, her past collides with her present, and the truth begins to be revealed.”

I quote the website because the secrets of this clever, deceptive play would be revealed if I gave details. The beauty of Sharr White’s devilishly mysterious play is that the details should be revealed slowly. But let me give some context.

Juliana is at a conference talking about her research. She is forthright, confident, funny, and in this crowd of (male) doctors, she sees “a girl in a yellow string bikini.” Or does she? She has a fraught phone conversation with her son-in-law and harried daughter as they bath their two children. Or does she? Is Juliana’s devoted, caring husband Ian really filing for divorce or having an affair with Juliana’s therapist? Juliana has had an “episode.” She knows it’s brain cancer because cancer runs in her family, and this very young therapist she is seeing for consultation is not going to tell her differently. Or is she? As I said, the play is deceptive. But Sharr White is such a clever playwright you are with the play and the characters for the whole of it as clues give way to information and light seeps in to illuminate.

Glynis Ranney plays Juliana. She is beautifully dressed by Camila Farah in perfectly fitted slacks and a top, both of which look expensive. Ranney realizes Juliana’s confidence, almost combativeness and resolve with ease. This character is so full of conviction that you are always conflicted between what you think you are looking at and the reality. Yet there is a fragility to Juliana in her weaker moments that is quite touching, again, because of Ranney’s sensitive playing of her.

As Ian, Juliana’s husband, Troy Adams is a caring yet frustrated partner. The suspicion and accusations are things he’s lived with a long time. We do wonder where the truth is, until we realize where it actually is.

Evelyn Wiebe plays the young doctor supposedly treating Juliana. While the doctor is concerned for Juliana’s health, Juliana is so commanding that she flusters the doctor. Lovely work by Wiebe. And in another part as “The Woman”, Wiebe creates a character who is concerned when Juliana visits her, yet is compassionate when she realizes what is happening. Jordin Hall plays “The Man” again, who shows compassion.

Director Tracy Michailidis keeps a delicate hand on the staging and pace of the revelations. She never has any character tip their hand too soon or too obviously. Fascinating play. Fine work from everybody.

Talk Is Free Theatre Presents:

Runs until: Dec. 3, 2022.

Running time: 75 minutes (no intermission)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 maja December 1, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Good! I can’t to see it tonight.


2 Ada December 3, 2022 at 1:21 pm

I became immersed in Juliana’s character played by Glynis Rainey that I had to see it a second time.
Thanks to the director, actors, sound and stage crew and Arkady for bringing another excellent play and experience to Barrie.
A well written synopsis.