SummerWorks review: Divine

DIVINE by Natalie Frijia (Red One Theatre Collective/SummerWorks)..

DIVINE by Natalie Frijia (Red One Theatre Collective/SummerWorks). At Factory Mainspace. Aug 8 at 9:45 pm, Aug 9 at 8 pm, Aug 12 at 7 pm, Aug 13 at 8:45 pm. See listing. Review: NNN

Natalie Frijia‘s Divine uses the country’s water crisis as a jumping off point, but the style of the show – it’s basically an all-female Western dystopia – almost trivializes the issue.

Employing a needlessly complex narrative device and a heightened language she can’t quite control (only Cormac McCarthy might be able to get away with it), Frijia spins a yarn about a group of bandits looking for a water diviner by the name of Penn (Amanda Cordner).

Also looking for water in the dustbowl of Ontario is a corrupt preacher (Aviva Armour-Ostroff).

Director Claire Burns stages the work with lots of imagination some shadow play helps fill in backstory, the costumes (by Sage Paul) are full of clever details, and I like how the guns have been fashioned out of old water bottles.

The cast is mostly fine, although I felt sorry for those trying to deliver unfunny comic lines.

Haley Garnett shows pluck as the narrator, but I wish Cordner’s Penn had more to do – she’s got a powerful voice and stage presence. Most effective is Armour-Ostroff, who has great fun with her cackling, sadistic villain.

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