Friday, February 06, 2009

Mommy Dearest - Medea - Play Review

Medea - Canon Theatre - Toronto, ON - *** (out of 5)
Written by Euripides, Freely Adapted by Robinson Jeffers, Directed by Miles Potter

As the lone non-musical in the current Mirvish subscription series, Medea is sort of the black sheep amongst a series of big musicals (The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line, The Color Purple, Spring Awakening). It's the one we are suckered into buying along with the rest of the series since it's still a great deal. But, since I've been trying to see more plays and particularly more classics, I figure it couldn't hurt. This is part of the "bettering" myself plan!

The production has been touted for Canadian actress Seana McKenna's performance (it's her 3rd time doing this role and this production started out in Winnipeg) and she really takes this ultimate Actress' role and manages to hold our attention in the ginormous Canon Theatre.

McKenna takes the role of the spurned wife, whose vengeance becomes so great that she kills her own children, and turns an acidic and (darkly) humorous turn that descends into madness.

The surrounding production and the grand set is gloriously epic, but in the end, I find myself once again appreciating this classic play more than I loved it. Thankfully the Playbill comes with a nice explanation of the Greek stories leading up to the play, and there's a free presentation an hour before the show that also explains the stories of Jason and the Argonauts and all of the rest that leads Medea to seek revenge, but I think that all sounded more interesting. With Medea, I couldn't wait until she went nuts and killed her sons, but maybe that's just me coming from my attention deficit generation, waiting for the juicy stuff to happen (especially since we knew it was coming)!

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