WALKING TO RUSSIA by Jonathan Garfinkel, directed by Jennifer Herszman Capraru, with Aron Tager, Ann Tager Page, Ruth Madoc-Jones and Jim Jones. Presented by Theatre Asylum in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson). Runs to January 27, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Saturday 3 pm and Sunday 2:30 pm. $18-$25, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NN Rating: NN
walking to russia barely limps. Jonathan Garfinkel's script brings together an elderly Winnipeg husband and wife, Ben (Aron Tager) and Bella (Ann Tager Page), with differing goals. She wants to retire to California, he wants to move to Churchill and save the world from the imminent effects of global warming.This couple, who are given some strange and unfunny comic scenes, are also haunted by the memory of their teenage daughter Masha (Ruth Madoc-Jones). Upset by family tensions and torn between a life in science or art, Masha left home 30 years ago.
Garfinkel's script gives these figures little depth (even less to the mostly extraneous characters played by the talented and underused Jim Jones), despite what we learn of Ben's near-death experience as a boy and of Bella's infatuation with another suitor in Russia. Jennifer Herszman Capraru's direction solves none of the play's problems, but there's something to admire in Troy Hourie's nicely dingy set, filled with the text's iconic visuals.
The show's only gripping segment is its final 10 minutes, when Masha recounts her imagistic journey from Winnipeg to Russia. Garfinkel is a better poet than a playwright, and in Madoc-Jones he's fortunate to have a passionate actor who knows how to focus energy within herself and then pour it out to an email@example.com