POOL (NO WATER) by Mark Ravenhill (Cue6 Theatre). At the Citadel (304 Parliament). Runs to October 15. $22-$35. cue6.ca. See.
We loved this production of Mark Ravenhills uber-dark comedy when it made a splash at the Fringe back in 2015, and this tweaked and tighter remount featuring the same cast and creative team delivers even more gasps and nervous laughs.
The story follows a tight-knit group of struggling artists who grow jilted and jealous when a former member achieves solo success and lives lavishly. When they eventually reunite under sad circumstances, a bizarre accident offers the gang an opportunity for emotional and artistic revenge, leading to a grisly, drug-and-sex-fuelled plot that plumbs the depths of envy, friendship, karma and ethics.
The strong ensemble consists of Allison Price, Chy Ryan Spain, Daniel Roberts, Eva Barrie and Nickeshia Garrick, who each play a different funny, flawed but ultimately relatable character in the art collective. In addition to their main roles, they also seamlessly share an array of supporting roles, most notably their famous ex-collaborator.
Presented as a sort of dream-like group confessional, events are re-enacted through visually compelling symbolic group movements by choreographer Patricia Allison including lifts, spins and evocative tableaux that perfectly convey the macabre, nightmarish happenings.
Director Jill Harper makes great use of the Citadels large dance studio stage, keeping things moving at a clip but also ensuring the sharp characters and engaging narrative, which contains more than a few twists, are always clear. At just under an hour, the show still feels very substantial. Simon Rossiters spooky lighting and clever shadow designs also add another layer of eeriness to the action.
Even if you enjoyed this show at the Fringe, its the sort of detailed and layered story that rewards multiple viewings. The cast and crew have gelled to create a special piece thats disturbing, fun and deeply thought-provoking.