THREE STOREY, OCEAN VIEW by Catherine A. Banks, directed by Pamela Halstead, with Cindy Block, Emily Follett-Campbell, Patricia Carroll Brown, Ingrid Rae Doucet, David Ian Matheson and Laurel Paetz. Equity Showcase (651 Dufferin). Runs to November 1, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm. Pwyc. 416-533-6100 ext 52. Rating: NN Rating: NN
three storey, ocean view is, the atrically speaking, a largely derelict structure whose foundation is firmly embedded in soap opera. Peg ( Cindy Block ) brings her daughter Zoe ( Emily Follett-Campbell ) and mother, Ruth ( Patricia Carroll Brown ), to the Nova Scotia town where Ruth grew up, intending to resettle there. But the house she chooses is haunted by ghostly figures from past decades seen only by the dementia-prone Ruth, a device that allows playwright Catherine A. Banks to shift between time periods and stories.
But neither the play nor director Pamela Halstead 's production is detailed enough to engage the audience in the figures' lives.
Banks dabbles with some strong themes - the tension between mothers and daughters, the handing down of abuse from one generation to the next - but the script only hints at rather than explores them.
The best of the plots and some of the most skilled acting involves Sheri ( Ingrid Rae Doucet ), widowed once by the sea and fearful of its happening again. Doucet's exchange with her tart mother-in-law, Beulah (a sharp cameo by Laurel Paetz ), is the evening's most dramatic episode, and there's good work by Follett-Campbell and Sara-Clare Lajeunesse as two equally rebellious teens from different decades.