Review by Danny Gaisin
Michael Wilmot’s Hamilton Fringe entry ‘Love Shack’ made its way up to mainstream as “No Tell Motel”. This hilarious story is about a middle-aged couple deciding that an afternoon assignation at a 3rd rate motel might spice up their lives. The seediness of their room; her reticence & his horniness plus the complication of an inquisitive manager and a disruptive spouse make the effort for a little hanky panky seem hardly worth it; but totally hilarious to observe. Wilmot was a monologue writer for Jay Leno and his acerbic’ Tonight Show’ wit is also displayed in the ‘No Tell‘ dialogues.
The Peninsula Players have been around for thirty-five years and offer a platform for such playwrights as Peter Gibson; Gordon Rowatt; Paul Marshall & localite Deborah Sirianni. Their venue, Grimsby’s Trinity United has an intimate feel and a decidedly functional stage for the performers. Acoustically, the actors can project dialogue clearly across the room. Utilizing an efficient and effective set, the four principals sustain the plot’s inter relationships as well as a continuing rapport with the audience. Director Paul Marshall supervises with a loose rein and this manifests itself in a natural feeling about the events onstage. His cast-members utilize facial expression; posture and especially timing to underscore the progress developing onstage. Marshall’s style offers an insight into his character’s psyches and diverse personal objectives. This keeps the play as comedy rather than farce.
Brandon and Sarah arrive at the motel and right away, there is discord. He’s raring to go, she’s more than ambiguous. Brian Munroe is an ‘everyman’ Brandon, while an amazing Kimberly Jonasson is an exceedingly identifiable Sarah. As they prepare for roll-playing stimulate plots, her machinations are a continual giggle. They may be opposite in aspiration but seem to search for a common denominator, certainly a credit to Marshall’s direction. The interruptions by harassed manager Adam (Kirk Mitchell] add more comedic effect to the shenanigans, but the empathetic relationship that develops between him and Johasson elicit audience compassion for both their characters. Finally, Brad Fortman enters and disrupts the equation. To delve further into his role would be a spoiler, but suffice to say, his contribution is pivotal.
The play is certainly middleweight but as staged here, is both entertaining and engaging. However, it is also something of a thought-provoker and given the median ages of the opening night audience, something of evocative…if only wishful thinking or of opportunities foresworn. We enjoyed it and glad that friend Jean Normand Iadeluca introduced us to the venue as well as the Peninsula cast & crew. Maybe they’ll even invite us back.
No Tell Motel runs until April 2nd. Call 905-309-6358 (Grimsby) for tickets.