Briana Templeton stands tall as Ivona.
If you're young, hungry and ambitious, late August can be a good time to show what you can do in the local theatre scene. The summer festivals have ended and the new season hasn't yet begun.
So kudos to director Ted Witzel, who - like a minor character at the beginning of the play - has put some spit and polish on Polish playwright Witold Gombrowicz's early absurdist Ivona Princess Of Burgundia.
The fractured fairy tale looks critically at class, vanity and power. The title character (Briana Templeton) is a near-catatonic figure who's insulted, exploited and in the end discarded by a corrupt court headed by a king (Spencer Evoy), queen (Daina Valiulis) and their fickle son (Reid Linforth).
The themes still hold up. You can look at Ivona as a lightning rod for anger, fear and anxiety - which are always around in times of uncertainty.
Witzel stages the piece effectively on the second floor of the Gladstone Hotel, where characters enter and exit quickly, and offstage sounds can beckon a few feet away from the seating area.
There's lots of boldness on display, both in the adaptation - there's a Bernie Mac joke - and in the design, especially in the suitably grotesque costumes by Sarah-Jane Thiessen and Erin Telegdi. Hilarious to use a woman's braided hair as a moustache on a pompous character.
The second act sprawls a bit too much - some plot details about pike could have been excised. But the talented troupe of actors, who stay in character before the show and during intermission, never lose focus.