TOGETHER, APART by Sean Curran, and FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE by Harley Granville Barker, directed by Andrew Freund, with Maryke Hendrikse, Katherine Trowell, Regan Thiel, John Wallace and Lada Darewych. Presented by Vox Theatrix at Canadian Stage (26 Berkeley). Runs to June 28, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Saturday 2 pm. $14. 416-368-3110. Rating: NN Rating: NN
VOX Theatrix premieres with a double bill that includes an underdeveloped new work and a subtle playwright's little-known script whose staging doesn't get off the ground. The first play, Sean Curran 's Together, Apart , brings together two sisters for the reading of their father's will. The deceased's tight-lipped lawyer and friend invites along another woman, an academic who knew the father, a well-known author. Curran's script intends to tantalize with hints of mystery, untold secrets and high-charged revelations.
Instead, it's full of melodramatic clichés, has little dramatic tautness and is neither resolved nor involving. What holds it together are Regan Thiel as one of the daughters and Maryke Hendrikse as the academic, both of whom work to invest their characters with emotional depth.
Harley Granville Barker is a wonderfully nuanced writer, as productions at the Shaw Festival have shown. His brief work Farewell To The Theatre is a rich script about the vicissitudes of a performer's life, in which a female actor meets with her lawyer - or does she? There's a hint that she might be a memory figure rather than an actual visitor.
But it doesn't matter here, for though John Wallace gives some life to the lawyer, Katherine Trowell has no variety of line delivery and squashes all of Granville Barker's wit and suggestiveness.