Review by Danny Gaisin, assisted by J.J. Gerber*
My original emphasis as a newspaper writer reflected an interest in classical music. Within that particular genus, the conductor is where the buck stops. Naturally, when analyzing theatre presentations I instinctively look at the corollary – the director. Terry Tweed’s staging of BLOOD BROTHERS shoots for impact and she succeeds. Like “Oklahoma” upstairs, this effort has – by word-of-mouth alone, become a no-seats-availablehit. The only blemish; the Mrs. Lyons character somehow fails to demonstrate any real maternal interest or feeling. Surprising, because the basis of the Russell story is her supposed desire for progeny, hence her insistent pressuring to split up her maid’s upcoming twins.
The two mothers are stereotypes of diametric contradiction. The struggling single mom is Alyssa Reeve whose accent would send Henry Higgins into convulsions, but her fortitude and practicality make her heroic. Her oftimes reprised song draws parallels between her life, desires, ambition, and that of Marilyn Monroe. She even sings – cockney. It is her counterpart, Jaclyn Serre who rings dross. She looks; dresses, and vocally projects the part of an upper class wife, but lacks any dimension as Edward’s parent.
Both boys have a recurring relationship with Linda, a young girl from Mickey’s ‘hood. Karina Bershteyn gives as empathetic a reading to the archetype as did Lulu in ‘To Sir, with Love’. She comes across as sincere and credible. Tremblay & Sierra both are strongest when in dialogue with her.
The ‘cops & robbers’ play-scene is a little too long and thus becomes tedious. Surprisingly the choreography is banal and rather amateurish. But the four-piece musical accompaniment is top echelon…especially Andreane Bouladier’s flute solos.
Obviously, tremendous effort has gone into this presentation and overall, it’s logical why it’s now in a sold-out position. Similar to most things staged by Sheridan, audiences receive more than their ticket price. Reflecting this standard of thespian quality, “RENT” is to go on the road, as is Erindale’s ‘HALIFAX 1917’ which travels to its namesake city this coming summer. Kudos.
* J.J. Gerber is a 1st year Theatre student @ Sheridan