THE BURGLARY by Anthony C. Winkler, directed by Ahdri Zhina Mandiela, with Paul Anthony, Kim Roberts and Kevin Sinclair. Presented by Gamut Productions at the Jane Mallett Theatre (27 Front East). Runs to August 7, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday 1:30 pm, Saturday-Sunday 2:30 pm. $55. 416-366-7723 or 1-800-708-6754. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Sometimes you can go home again, but for the characters in The Burglary , home is subject to change upon arrival.
After 35 years of toughing it out in Atlanta, Elbert and Mildred Hendricks ( Paul Anthony and Kim Roberts ) return to Jamaica to retire. Elbert builds his lady the ultimate Caribbean dream home, designed to keep robbers and hooligans out while providing all the luxury she can imagine.
But on their first night in this paradise, a crafty, nutty thief named Overturner ( Kevin Sinclair ) torments them, testing not only the security of their home but their desire to be back in Jamaica in the first place.
Julia Tribe 's sweeping set design resembles the beautiful, unimaginably clean homes in design magazines. Bathed in Andrea Lundy 's golden lighting, it could be a gilded cage; director ahdri zhina mandiela shows Elbert and Mildred clawing at the walls of their elegant oasis while Overturner tests their limits, taunting them from the beach outside.
This dark material and a trio of very funny performances in the Jamaican vernacular bring the "sex, violence and shenanigans" Mildred loves on American TV to her own doorstep.
Winkler's script, however, concludes too cleanly, with the dark possibilities only half-realized.
Mandiela's staging suggests that the pair are as threatened by their homeland as they are welcomed by it.
The fact that the playwright hasn't addressed the darker aspects of this theme more thoroughly suggests that this production's brilliance belongs entirely to the ensemble and director.