SOMETHING DRASTIC by Colleen Curran, directed by Marcia Tratt, with Debra Hale, Jane Miller, Shaun Clarke and Brian Young. Presented by MetroGnome at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman). Runs to February 6, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $10-$23, limited pwyc Sunday. 416-531-1827. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Call it un-sexy in the city. Single women Lenore and Heidi think warmed nachos are haute cuisine, don't drink cosmopolitans and have probably never even heard of Manolo Blahnik. And that's not a bad thing.
Compared to TV, the intimacy of live theatre is more suited to relatable characters, people whose shoes we might actually be able to walk a mile in.
Playwright Colleen Curran creates two such women in Something Drastic . Lenore ( Jane Miller ) is a sweetly simple waitress pining for the deadbeat boyfriend who recently abandoned her, while Heidi ( Debra Hale , born for this role) is an overachieving prof who knows more about dead poets than she does about any living man.
Their unexpected friendship, chronicled over the course of a year as these opposites find they're not so different after all, is what anchors the play.
Unfortunately, there's lots of dead weight threatening to sink this production, like a parade of kooky characters (Sylvia Plath-worshipping feminist mafia, Vegas con men, straight show-tune lovers), a brief but unnecessary side plot about Expo 67 memorabilia and more Canadian references than you can shake a hockey stick at.
But director Marcia Tratt works hard to make us smile, letting Visa bills come to life, casting men to play women and featuring simple set design. Months are indicated by cutesy tablecloths and hung-up signs, car wheels are made of Frisbees and duct tape.
Hey, if the play doesn't take itself seriously, why should we?