By Philip Caunter
55 minutes | Comedy | G
Acting! It can be an intimidating thing even if you prepare, and if you have no idea what you’re doing it can be a nightmare. That’s the premise of this play, as the hapless George Spelvin (played by Rod Hagglund) gets tossed about on stage without a clue. The whole thing feels like an inside joke for theatre, and I was left wishing someone had brought me in on it so I had more reason to laugh.
At Fringe you’ll see a range of performance levels, from more casual to seasoned pros. This Salt & Pepper Theatre production has a more amateur feel than most. It’s hard, then, for me to be terribly hard on it – this was an earnest effort that in my opinion needed to feel more natural and engaging. The staging of this play may have played a part, as it was performed in a small area as a stage surrounded by seating. I felt that it was awkward to be so close to the performers in a room that was strangely well lit. I gather that these are just the realities of having the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa as the venue, but I wished it were a bit more conventional.
There are plenty of laughs built into this script, especially if you are well-versed in the plays that are mashed up and referenced. On the whole, things weren’t clicking for me, although I will credit Angela Pelly and Jennifer Ford for bringing a lot of enjoyable bombast to their parts. If you’re a devotee of Christopher Durang’s writing or the works of Noël Coward, Samuel Beckett and Shakespeare, this send-up may just suit your taste.
The Actor’s Nightmare is playing at BYOV-F SPAO (168 Dalhousie St.) on Saturday, June 18 at 6pm; Sunday, June 19 at 3pm; Friday, June 24 at 8pm; Saturday, June 25 at 6pm; and Sunday, June 26 at 7pm.
Tickets are $12.