THE MILL ON THE FLOSS, adapted from George Eliot's novel by Helen Edmundson, directed by Robin Phillips, with Julia Arkos, Torri Higginson, Terence Kelly, Roberta Maxwell, Tom McCamus, Stephen Ouimette, Brenda Robins, Steven Sutcliffe and Jack Wetherall. Rating: NNNNN
Much more polished than its earlier incarnation at the World Stage Festival, Helen Edmundson's adaptation of George Eliot's The Mill On The Floss still makes you wonder, "Why?"
Why use the stage to tell this complicated, multi-character story of love and freedom, when A&E could do it more effectively?
Still, as directed by Robin Phillips for Soulpepper, this show has lots to offer the eyes and mind -- if not the emotions.
An incest theme is more than hinted at, and the psychological complexity of the novel's heroine, Maggie Tulliver, is shown by having three different actors (Torri Higginson, Julia Arkos and the richly expressive Brenda Robins) play different aspects of her self.
Stephen Ouimette and Steven Sutcliffe are again fine, the one proud, petty and small-minded as Maggie's brother Tom, the other an outsider whose reed-like voice helps establish his kinship with Maggie.
Phillips's stark production suggests the stern Presbyterian spirit the play tries to depict, but it unfortunately chokes out any life or spontaneity. And as for the final climactic scene -- as ridiculously symbolic as it is in the novel -- I can say only one thing: deus ex washing machine. GS
THE MILL ON THE FLOSS, adapted from George Eliot's novel by Helen Edmundson, directed by Robin Phillips, with Julia Arkos, Torri Higginson, Terence Kelly, Roberta Maxwell, Tom McCamus, Stephen Ouimette, Brenda Robins, Steven Sutcliffe and Jack Wetherall. Presented by Soulpepper at the Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queen's Quay West). Runs to July 22, Thursday-Friday at 8 pm, matinee Saturday 2 pm. 973-4000. Rating: NNN
Another run at the Mill