VINCI by Maureen Hunter, directed by Dennis Garnhum, with Robert Benson, Fiona Byrne, Dylan Trowbridge, Craig Erickson, Patricia Fagan and Gordon Rand. Presented by CanStage at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front East). Runs to February 8, Monday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday 1:30 pm and Saturday 2 pm. $20-$75, some Monday pwyc. 416-368-3110. Rating: NN Rating: NN
vinci touches the mind but rarely the heart. Maureen Hunter's play deals with the young Leonardo da Vinci, but her lens is rather on his parents and others in their Tuscan village.The child is the illegitimate son of scribe Piero (Craig Erickson) and servant Caterina (Patricia Fagan). When Piero marries the rich Albiera (Fiona Byrne), Caterina decides to raise Leonardo herself, despite the wishes of others. The show's narrator is the priest Bartolomeo (Gordon Rand).
Hunter's talky text is cleverly, if predictably, constructed, but her characters lack strong emotion, and Dennis Garnhum's direction often fails to give them blood. Rand brings energy and a sense of soul-searching to Bartolomeo, who wants to do what's right but doesn't always know what that is, while Byrne finds some warmth in the chatterbox Albiera.