GOBLIN MARKET created and performed by Maev Beaty and Erin Shields, directed by Allison Cummings (groundwater/Belltower/Equity Showcase). At Equity Showcase (651 Dufferin). To May 27. Pwyc-$15. 416-533-6100 ext 52. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Victorian morality comes smack up against contemporary eroticism in Goblin Market, a thrillingly multidisciplinary piece inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem of the same name.
Maev Beaty and Erin Shields narrate the poem and play, respectively, Lizzie and Laura, two rural sisters whose daily routine is upset when Laura is enticed by a group of goblins to taste their luscious fruits. Spent, her white frock stained with the messy fruit juices, Laura returns home but becomes increasingly lifeless until Lizzie sets out to change their fates.
Performed in a rehearsal hall at Equity Showcase Theatre, the work feels incredibly intimate. By all means, seat yourself on one of the chairs or benches arranged in and around the playing area. The closeness of the actors as they dash by or light a candle right near you is indescribable. So effectively have they and director Allison Cummings marked out the space that you'll swear you see paths and hills once the women have trod the floors a few times.
Beaty and Shields bite into their roles with fervour, suggesting everything from a Biblical allegory (Eve in the garden of Eden?) to a sensual vampire tale. Musician Kathy Zaborsky helps create mood and atmosphere through sound and voice, though not every detail resonates.
The final scene, however, doesn't quite feel complete, and the lights come up a bit too awkwardly, spoiling an otherwise enchanting and thoughtful show.