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Monday, September 10, 2007

Theatre In the Raw opens to a Standing-Room-Only Fringe Crowd!

The cast of "You Are What You Eat": Roger Howie, Maria Lakes, and Kevin Sloan.

TITRaw Fringe debut was met with wild applause and a room full of smiling faces at the Agro
Café last Sunday night.

Remounting Patrick Foley’s funny and relevant “You Are What You Eat”, and premiering Manual Kane’s poignant “Duet in The Park”, the “little company that did” has taken “community” theatre to a whole new level and has introduced Vancouver theatre goers to some outstanding local talent.

“You Are What You Eat” features TITRaw veterans Roger Howie, Kevin Sloan and Maria Lakes. The shining star has to be Howie, who has a face like Silly Putty, which he moulds into countless, great comedic expressions. Sloan and Lakes both have to work hard to keep up with Howie’s relentless delivery, and they do. I completely related to their two characters in that type of situation: being cornered by someone who won’t shut up and feels it’s his right to proselytize regardless of whether the other parties are interested or not.

Foley’s script covers a lot of socio-economical and ethical ground, talking about the industrialized food chain we are the end-users of. I thought that setting the play in a café was brilliant; after all, when you think about it, it’s at a restaurant that we are most divorced from our food. We only want to see and enjoy the food, not think about where it came from.

The other one-act, “Duet in the Park” is an intimate tale about two young women – Bubbles, a prostitute caught under her vicious pimp’s thumb, and Florabelle, a “retard” (as the other kids in the foster home she’s left called her) - who find themselves lost together on the same park bench.

Bubbles and Florabelle (played by Julie Cohn and Edwina Cheer respectively) are charming and frank characters who seem destined to run into each other’s arms. The actors do a great job of fleshing out two roles which could easily become stereotypical.

By the way, Cohn looks great in her superhero knee boots and ultra mini-skirt! I mention this only because if you don’t get there early and get a seat up front, you’ll miss out – which is my only complaint about the production. With no raised stage or raked seating, the audience further back gets a slightly limited view of the show.

That aside, I loved the ensemble cast and the intelligent, deceptively simple story-telling.

If you have the chance, come out and see these shows. They alternate nightly with TITRaw’s other darker drama, a radio play by Bill Pollett, “The Toe Cutter”. You can listen to a short audio clip of it which was produced at CBC studios at http://ourmedia.org/node/348623.

For specific dates and times, check out the Theatre in The Raw website at www.theatreintheraw.ca


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