Review by Danny Gaisin: (at The Prince of Wales, N.O.T.L.)
J.B. Priestley had an insightful sense of humor. He appreciated the perversities of life as well as its ironies. Both of these anomalies are amply displayed in his “WHEN WE ARE MARRIED”, [still in Previews] which comedically analyzes three couples who are celebrating their same-date 25th anniversary…except the minister may have been unauthorized. A second chance, or a need to re-confirm –aye, there’s the rub! SHAW’s talented director Joseph Ziegler manages to capture all the comedy as well as the social nuances of the era and society. Photo courtesy of David Cooper
The drawing room set design by Ken MacDonald is almost overpowering. This scribe actually envied the elaborate pocket doors which contribute in no small way to the on-stage activities. Costume designer Sue LePage’s creations exemplify the players’ statuses as well as the period. The impact reeks of reality.
In the opening scene, the three males are about to fire their churches organist. They then must do an abrupt about-face and their change of modus is an almost mirror image of today’s Liberal & NDP leaders… ain’t politics fun! Patrick Galligan; Thom Marriott; & Patrick McManus all manage to succinctly portray their characters idiosyncrasies. Marriott both physically & mannerism-wise resembles Gale Gordon of 70’s sitcoms. Their respective spouses are Kate Hennig, Claire Jullien and Catherine McGregor and all three ladies display individuality as well as diverse personalities. The latter is especially powerful in her final scene denouncing of her husband’s numerous faults. The audience actually cheered on her rebellion as loud as they did when one of the men states that ‘marriage is a definite creation to benefit women’! The muse and I as devout non-smokers cheered ‘Ruby’s’ observation that “If God meant man to smoke; he’d have put chimneys in their heads” !!!
There are a few outstanding support roles; Charlie Gallant and Kate Besworth are definitely credible as the young couple; while Mary Haney & Jennifer Dzialoszynski manage to create their own household havoc as the servants. Even the minor support cast give full measure to their role interpretations. The accents may be a little difficult at times but projection as well as stance and facial expressions amply convey the dialogued messages. We laughed, empathized and even identified with some of the inter-personal events on stage. This is the benchmark of theater. WHEN WE ARE MARRIED is at the Royal George until Oct. 26th.