Review: Marion Bridge (Theatre New Brunswick)

Category: stage 989

Theatre New Brunswick’s production of MacIvor’s play is visually stunning and bursting with humour.

Brian K.

4Written by Daniel MacIvor | Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones | On stage at the Fredericton Playhouse until April 2 | Tickets at the box office or online at theplayhouse.ca

Photo: Andre Reinders
Photo: Andre Reinders

Theatre New Brunswick’s production of the Daniel MacIvor play, Marion Bridge, is very much a celebration of minimalism. With just three actors on a single set, the company’s final professional production of the season proves that good theatre doesn’t have to be complex in size and scope to completely immerse an audience in another world.

Leigh Ann Vardy’s skillful use of lighting gave life to Patrick Clark’s simplistic set design, creating a truly Colville-esque environment, with soft tones of colour highlighting the mood of each scene to precision.

Through this space, director Thomas Morgan Jones and the talented cast of Kim Parkhill, Michelle Polak and Jackie Torrens delivered MacIvor’s thoughtful journey through the inner complexities of family relations, with Michael Doherty’s cascading sound design carrying the audience from scene to scene.

Through the two-act performance, MacIvor’s award-winning story rises through various stages of difference and resolution as three sisters reconnect with one another after years apart.

The play’s unexpected amount of humour caused pockets of laughter to reverberate throughout the entire performance as Parkhill, Polak and Torrens took turns pulling back the layers of family disorder, to reveal the individual differences that come to shape every family’s identity over time.

As artistic director, Jones has successfully introduced a new chapter in the company’s nearly fifty year history of theatre, embracing a modest approach to storytelling by removing the clutter that is often used to compensate for something that simply isn’t there. Instead, he has chosen to share strong stories delivered by outstanding professionals at the height of their careers, and Marion Bridge is fine example of this vision.

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