One of the more positive perks of doing what we do is the factual assurance that we’’ll attend an impeccably professional presentation by WEST; a Sheridan offering that’s of Broadway caliber; pure entertainment by the Meadowvale Communities’ trio; and a Top Tenner by Erindale. Wendy Wassersteins’s 1977 “UNCOMMON WOMERN & OTHERS” is just another example of the veracity stated above. It’s polished; immaculately directed; well-cast and presented; shocking; and hilarious but with very human moments of pathos. Photo courtesy of Jim Smagata
Nine Mt. Holyoke co-eds reconnect six years after graduation. In flashbacks, the audience sees each individual as a stereotype but also explores the ambitions and potentials that they had during college. The denouement focuses on their eventual life realization a decade after commencement.
Director Diana Leblanc decided to allow her charges to imagine themselves back a quarter-century and then imbue their readings with personal and individual interpretations that give a realism to the portrayals. Leblanc obviously allotted roles to her own impressions of each of her 4th year student’s psyches. Like just about every member of the audience; there will be moments of déjà vu as one identifies the characters with those we met during our own college days. The almost Black Box staging utilizes steps and props very effectively and the costumes are character-representational. But it is Leblanc’s gloved hand rather that whip that allows the players to seemingly derive huge enjoyment from their portrayals.
The character of Kate Quin is pivotal. Her demeanor effects responses from all her contemporaries and Emma Robson captures the essence of someone who is purpose-led and thus occasionally teased by the others. Robson has a lithe and fluid manner of propulsion that coupled with her height give an aristocratic air to her Kate. The role of Holly is played by Roxanne Norman whose deliveries made the audience giggle. The profanities were delegated to Larissa Crawley who’s ‘Rita’, could hold her verbal own with the toughest of construction workers. The very personal items and penile opinions earn a high ranking on the vulgar scale. Crawley handles the subjects with surprising aplomb.
The songs, styles, and choices of the seventies are all blended seamlessly into the production. The recorded Moderator’s voice sounded vaguely familiar; perhaps the same professional who advises the audience to “turn off anything that rings, beeps or vibrates; take no photos, and unwrap candies. Now enjoy the show”; before curtain! UNCOMMON WOMEN & OTHERS, will be at Erindale Theatre until Sunday Jan. 31st. 905-569-4369