Fluff – but fun fluff! St. Leonard Chronicles at Centaur Theatre

Sold out houses – night after night – says something about this fun to watch, and slightly heart warming play about an evening with an Italian extended family in St. Leonard. And it’s been extended to December. You have time to get tickets and join the crowd singing it’s praises!

There’s the young couple, their parents, and the mother of the mother of the husband – aka: Grannie. They are sitting around a dinning room table – behind them is a view into the kitchen that they can not see – being family. The direction alone deserves kudos. Roy Surette has managed to imagineer a small room with walls that yet is open to the theatre seating. You get completely the fact that this is not a huge home – in fact it’s a duplex/triplex – the young couple have renters that they manage below and above. By setting the kitchen above and behind the table, it is very easy to keep your eye on the action there – and yet build up unseen walls separating that action from what is happening in front.

The story unfolds as a string of conversations – starting with the Grannie who regales – for the hundredth time – her family with the story of what happened when she arrived in Canada.

Keeping with the Italian tradition – of course she and her young husband stayed with cousins they had never meet – living in a walk up served with an outdoor curving staircase. And of course the husband slips with the trunk half way up the stairs. Equally predictable are the reactions of the non-italian neighbors – Go home Wop! Maudit Italians!

Listening to the banter, laughter, and tall tales being told – you get a good idea of what life for this kind of extended family must be like.

There is a story of sorts – the kids are trying to make their lives better, the parents see any changes as change for the worse, and the old lady drinks wine and nods off from time to time.

I won’t ruin the play by revealing more of the story – but bottom line – the acting is terrific, the play itself a wonderful effort, and naturally the production values at Centaur is fabulous.

Join the troops – see the play. Everyone deserves an easy night out!

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