*CHEKHOV'S SHORTS, adapted by Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith, directed by Gilmour and Smith, with Gilmour, Patricia Marceau, Liisa Repo-Martell and Smith. Presented by Theatre Smith-Gilmour in association with Factory Theatre in the Factory Studio (125 Bathurst). Runs to November 19, Tuesday-Saturday at 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $16-$23, Sunday pwyc. 504-9971. Rating: NNNN
Time to pack your bag and go for a trip -- to the Factory Theatre Studio, where Theatre Smith-Gilmour remounts its award-winning production of Chekhov's Shorts. And if you can't find your suitcase, the company will supply lots of them. Suitcases are the set and central design element for this great show, which features some of the sharpest clown talents in Toronto -- directors Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith with fellow actors Patricia Marceau and Liisa Repo-Martell -- in stagings of Chekhov's short stories.
A light fall of snow, several false beards, a hand miming quick-passing scenery as seen from a train -- these are the sorts of elements the company uses in delightful storytelling about lost dogs, overworked nursemaids and infatuated schoolteachers.
All four actors shine, but it's Dora winner Gilmour who gives shape and brings an admirable grace to the production. There's not a wrong image or a misplaced gesture in these stories-within-stories, or a better way to spend 90 theatrical minutes. And it's just as entertaining the second time around. JK