Martin Happer and Laurie Paton help make Getting Married a must-see.
GETTING MARRIED by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Joseph Ziegler (Shaw). At the Royal George, Niagara-on-the-Lake. In rep to November 1. $45-$89, stu/srs discounts. See Out of Town. Rating: NNNN
Too bad George Bernard Shaw wasn't around a few years ago during the same-sex marriage debate. Based on the myriad ideas he tosses around in Getting Married, he'd have had a lot to say.
The rarely produced 1908 play, a look at the human need for love and companionship, takes place in a bishop's kitchen just before his youngest daughter's wedding.
It turns out that neither bride nor groom is sure that a traditional marriage is what they want. She (Krista Colosimo) is an outspoken feminist who believes she should be paid for her work at home, while he (Gray Powell) is fearful because, legally responsible for her actions and speeches in public, he might be sued.
But that's only the start for Shaw, who brings in a wise greengrocer (Michael Ball), a military man (Peter Krantz) constantly rejected in love by a determined single woman (Fiona Byrne) who wants children but not a husband, something the law won't allow, and a May/December married couple (Peter Millard and Nicolá Correia-Damude) whose separation because of her indiscretion with another man (Martin Happer) isn't as clear-cut as it first appears.
Then there's the mysterious Mrs. George Collins, who's endlessly talked about but doesn't appear until the second act. Played by the wonderful Laurie Paton, she's a seductive, problem-solving visionary, a coal merchant's wife who also happens to be the mayoress (that's Shaw's word) of the town.
Shaw's play offers some still pointed comments on relationships today. The danger of a work like this is that it could turn into a series of viewpoints offered by talking heads, but director Joseph Ziegler and his first-rate cast create a series of solidly realized comic characters whose problems are as funny as they are engaging.
One of this season's best offerings at Shaw.