PLATINUM TRAVEL CLUB by Franca Miraglia, directed by Layne Coleman, with Deborah Hay, Gary Reineke, Liz Pounsett, Lorna Wilson and Tim Campbell. Presented by By The Word in association with Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). Runs to June 20, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $25, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Platinum Travel Club is being promoted as an "erotic thriller" about bored executives having sex with each other while travelling. That's pretty misleading. I guess "erotic" sounds more exciting than "psychological," and "thriller" is more marketable than "drama." Sandie ( Deborah Hay ) is an executive - we never learn in what capacity - who uses an agency to hook up with businessmen while on the road. Why? Well, gee, maybe it's because she's still haunted by her missing sister Caroline ( Liz Pounsett ) and blames herself for the sister's abduction on one fateful night. Or is it because she thinks her parents loved Caroline more than they love her? Or did she watch Looking For Mr. Goodbar too many times?
Franca Miraglia 's workmanlike script flies freely, and often confusedly, through time. Often we have to rely on Hay's voice - is it deep and grown-up or girlish? - to figure out the time period. Still, Miraglia has talent. The early scenes between Sandie and her gentleman caller ( Tim Campbell ) feel authentic, especially the details about waiting in airports and the quality of hotel air. Miraglia is obviously familiar with corporate travel.
But there's a predictability to the plot. The use of the dead Caroline as a ghostly presence works well in the first act only to become annoying in the second. The fascinating idea of using fantasies and role-playing to work through psychological problems remains underdeveloped, and a payoff at the end comes as no surprise.
Director Layne Coleman gets adequate performances from the actors, but only Hay has a character who's complex enough to engage our sympathies. Gary Reineke affects a slow-talking, ponderous delivery to add weight to his humble role as the father, and Campbell does manage to be creepy and attractive at the same time.
It's not great theatre, but maybe Miraglia's produced a fine TV script. I wonder if the W channel is looking for material.