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Theatre Review: Crippled at undercurrents—until 02.08.20

By Laura Gauthier and Samara Caplan on February 6, 2020

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Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever). Follow @bffs613 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


The Undercurrents Festival launched it’s opening night to a sold-out production of Crippled. For those with their ear to the ground in the theatre community, there had been tons of buzz going around about this show. We heard about its popularity and how quickly tickets were selling and we were excited to see what was in store.

The stage opens on the waterfront of St. John’s, Newfoundland, where Tony stands at the edge, staring down into the inviting mist and stillness of the water. When a stranger walks by his plans are derailed, as he joins him at the water’s edge and they begin to confide in each other and even bond over unlikely shared experiences.

Though we had read the synopsis of the show, Crippled definitely wasn’t what we were expecting—it was so much more. With only three actors in the entire show, all three performers Pat Dempsey, Paul David Power and Matt White give enthralling and unforgettable performances. Delving deep into the subjects of disability, love, loss and insecurity, Crippled has a lot more to it then what’s on the surface.

‘Crippled’ by David Power opens the 2020 festival. Photo: Chris Hibbs.

Crippled definitely wasn’t what we were expecting—it was so much more.

The production is also different than many shows you will have seen before. The simple staging with subtle lighting and music changes is able to transport you from the waterfront, to a busy club, to a driveway, and more places. The actors are constantly breaking the fourth wall, taking to and referencing the audience directly, and often highlighting the fact that they are in a story that is being written. A moment that stood out for us as not only different from what we had seen before, but a powerful move, was when the full house lights come on, further highlighting the characters’ awareness of the story.

Often shows with so much hype and buzz aren’t able to live up to the expectation—we can reassure you that with Crippled that is not the case. We can’t think of a better show to open the festival and help get us excited for what else Undercurrents has in store. Tickets are already selling fast, so grab yours as soon as you can—we promise it’s one you won’t want to miss.


Crippled continues at the Arts Court Studio as part of undercurrents contemporary theatre festival and runs until February 8th. Visit undercurrentsfestival.ca for the show times. Tickets are pick-your-price ranging from $5 to $75. The show runs about 85 minutes with no intermission.


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