This was my first Stage Centre Productions show and boy was I impressed. I was so impressed that I am now kicking myself for having been too lazy to leave my “downtown cocoon of comfort and downstairs Pizza Pizza” to travel up to North York’s Fairview Library Theatre – adjacent to the North exit of Fairview Mall to see one of their productions earlier.
When I walked into the filled auditorium on the opening night of Enid Bagnold’s The Chalk Garden, directed by Larry Westlake, the first thing I thought was “Wow – the SET will be the true star of the show!” Everything was so detailed right down to the *slight* upscale bohemian-ness with a dash of shabby chic thrown in ie. that Turkish inspired coffee table and the hanging oriental rugs on the wall as decoration. Whoever designed this set should be doing the “staging” of homes in the real estate industry. I loved it all! I mean have you seen my apartment and my obnoxiously large red Moroccan lantern??? Or the incense ashes covering all the surfaces in my own decaying “character” dwelling with unusually high ceilings? As soon as I heard the phone ring, I instinctively knew in my head it would be a beautiful big brass antique replica and I was correct. I have been considering getting a useless landline so I can buy one myself for $45 on Amazon.ca. The sheer size of the entire set being used just for the living room gave it such a grande, yet comfortable, warm, luxurious feel that reminded me of Katherine Chancellor’s living room on The Young and the Restless. Don’t get me started on the beautiful red-carpeted staircase and picture window on the landing. Kudos to Set Designer, J.B. Pierre Rajoutte and team along with Lighting Designer, Jamie Farley for creating the inviting ambience. I loved the sudden spotlight on Miss Madrigal ( Kelly-Marie Murtha ) as she delivered her line at the end of Act One and tilted her expression upwards towards…Pinkberry’s(?) (unseen) bedroom. Her timing was great and her eyebrow arched as if she and the director had meticulously worked it out to look that way in contrast with the light.
Next up – Who is responsible for this impeccably stylish and timeless wardrobe? Everything about Laurel’s first preppy outfit is in style right now (unless I’m desperately out of style which could be the case). Gayle Owler (Wardrobe Coordinator) – how much would you charge to dress me this Spring?
Laurel was played charmingly annoying by Lindsay Woodford who I think deserves a Thea nomination for this role actually. She also is a Toronto Film school alumnus (which suddenly has a decent reputation again after the collapse of International Academy of Design many years ago – I have a lot of unanswered questions now, which will lead me to a long night of Googling) Again, I hope Lindsay is nominated for playing such a difficult and complex role and I really hope this show is being adjudicated!
Rob Glen provided the constantly welcomed comic relief throughout the comedy-drama as Maitland the Butler. I’m not sure if Maitland even gets paid. It seems he stays out of concern for the oddly immature yet also very intelligent 15-year-old Laurel who this play centres around.
Catherine Lenihan played Mrs.St. Maugham and she seemed just a bit too empathetic and genuine to pull off the role of a manipulative mother/grandmother and former snobby socialite.
I hate to say this but if you’re mad at your mother. Or if you’re even less happy with your grandmother. Then this is the play for you! (Not pointing fingers at anyone). Happy Easter!!!
The Chalk Garden continues until March 31 at Fairview Library Theatre.
For tickets and more information: http://www.stagecentreproductions.com/index.php/the-chalk-garden/