THE GLADSTONE VARIATIONS By Rick Roberts, Mike McPhaden, Brendan Gall, Julie Tepperman, directed by Aaron Willis, Ruth Madoc-Jones, Alan Dilworth, Rebecca Benson. At the Gladstone (1214 Queen W). To August 3. $20-$30. 416-504-7529, artsboxoffice.ca. Rating: NNNNN
How good is Convergence Theatre's The Gladstone Variations, remounted after its sold-out run at the 2007 Fringe?
In hotel terms, the production is the penthouse suite of current Toronto productions.
That's an appropriate image, for the show - created by a quartet of talented playwrights and directed and interwoven by a team of skilled directors - is set in and about the historic Gladstone Hotel.
That's "about" in two senses, for the audience at this site-specific presentation follows characters into various hallways, stairwells and rooms at the hotel, as well as the alleyways behind it. But it's also about the people who live in the area or check into the Gladstone's rooms - people with secrets, history that they might not want to face, memories they can't escape.
And while you can see two of the four shows any one evening (or Monday matinee) and watch a self-contained story, the series of narratives are actually connected with breathtaking skill in the writing and performing. The whole theatre-going experience becomes richer if you see all four shows.
More on the production in next week's print edition, but don't wait that long before booking tickets - with only about 60 tickets available for every performance, it's likely to sell out.
For showtimes, see Continuing in theatre listings.