THE GLADSTONE VARIATIONS - VARIATION ONE by Rick Roberts and Mike McPhaden, directed by Aaron Willis and Ruth Madoc-Jones. Presented by Convergence at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West). July 12-15 at 7 pm. Rating: NNNNN
You won't be quite the same after walking in and around the Gladstone Hotel in this double bill of intersecting plays. Rick Roberts's The Tearful Bride defies synopsis, it's so dense with philosophical questions (the poet Wallace Stevens, I think, is an influence) and time-shifting. Richard Greenblatt anchors the piece as a concierge who encounters a lonely bride-to-be (Lori Nancy Kalamanski) on a day that has major repercussions for all involved.
In Mike McPhaden's Requiem For A Hotel, veteran actor Janet Amos delivers a richly humane and sympathetic performance as a displaced woman who wants to pay off her debts so she can sing karaoke at the Melody Bar. The denouement is haunting. This is site-specific theatre at its best, and the suggestions of other dramas happening simultaneously in the hotel add to the authenticity of the experience. A must-see. GS
THE GLADSTONE VARIATIONS - VARIATION TWO by Brendan Gall and Julie Tepperman, directed by Alan Dilworth and Rebecca Benson. Rating: NNNNN
These two stories about lost love are gripping pieces of theatre that you take in while moving through the rooms, halls and vicinity of the Gladstone Hotel.
In Brendan Gall's The Card Trick, a man at the end of his rope tries to gain access to the hotel for his own mysterious reasons. Stewart Arnott is compelling as the man, with Dov Mickelson as his nemesis, a bellhop, and Sanjay Talwar as the hotel's more sympathetic concierge. Julie Tepperman's I Grow Old looks at a social worker trying to deal with an old man who spouts T. S. Eliot. Robert Naismith shines as the old guy, as does Christopher Stanton as a long-time friend he can't quite shake.
Wonderfully staged and performed, and not to be missed. JK