The Clone People – Dawson Studio Wins Again

I do get confused by the Dawson Theatre’s way of describing exactly which group and which class is doing which production. In this specific case – the program credits the 2nd Year Studio – the website ( refers to it as a production by the 4th studio. Honestly – I’m so confused.

But ignoring my confusion as to which group is doing what to whom in the library – the truth is that these productions are a wonderful value for the money. They are ‘pay what you can’ – so essentially free – they are generally excellently directed (the staff at Dawson are clearly of extremely high calibre), and I totally love the idea of seeing young people strut their stuff in front of family and friends.

The play itself is a very good story. You are introduced to a ‘hollywood’ couple – a husband and wife very much in love with each other, a neighbor who is over the hill and over the top, and the ‘managers’ of the couple. The wife, who at the start is on location, suddenly runs away from her location and drives home to hide out. She is complaining of headaches and has serious concerns about some of her staff and what they may have done to her in the past.

Clearly – since the title is “The Clone People” – we’re going to be seeing some clones – and naturally that’s what happens. The cast has a lot of fun switching behaviors to carry the illusion of the clone’d people, with the clear star being the female lead. She ends up having to have 3 different personalities in order to convince us that she’s been ‘clone’d’ – and she does an excellent job.

You don’t go to Dawson to see professional theatre – you go to have an enjoyable night out and maybe to see a play you have never even heard of performed credibly. This one was a winner on all counts.

(I was in the audience on Saturday, March 9th)

Trad and Cornered – 2 lousy plays in 2 Evenings. Bummer, eh?

I read with great interest Pat Donnelly’s long article in the Gazette – wondering if the fact she’d seen 4 good plays in as many night was a sign of a resurgence in the English Montreal Theatre scene. While I’m all for a resurgence – i don’t think that seeing 4 good plays in a week is a record – I’ve seen play after good play for years.

Unfortunately, while Pat saw great plays – I suffered thru 2 plays in 2 evenings that were both questionable. Both  were so slow-paced they actually had me sleeping. Not good people.

The first was ‘Cornered’ at my absolute favorite English theatre Venue – the Bain St. Michel. I’ve seen such great theatre there – and I have the greatest respect for Guy Sprung. But Cornered was directed by Paul Van Dyck – and it was a terrible let-down. For starters – the accents of the actors was so heavy – so ‘put-on’ that it left a great many of the customers the night I was there wondering what was going on. And the answer was – not much . It’s a rather pointless story, with little to recommend it, spoken by good actors putting on such heavy accents as to render the story incomprehensible to an English speaker. And if English wasn’t my first language – which was the case for most of the underwhelming small crowd of people there on Wednesday night – well – it was a complete waste of time.

My 2nd loser – the heavily advertised, and well re-reviewed ‘Trad’ at Centaur. The set was lovely, the music fun – but again – the actors put on fake Irish accents – and unfortunately – in doing so rendered huge sections of the play almost incomprehensible. I got the idea – they are both old – and thus live in a past that is more exciting than the current present. But was it absolutely necessary to tell the story in accents I didn’t understand. What is the point. It didn’t make me think better of the characters – it just made me go to sleep. Again – audience discussion tended to agree with me – This was not a great production. It wasn’t even a good one. Sorry Sidemark and Centaur. You may have delivered for Pat – but you didn’t deliver for me. Or the people sitting in front of me.

But good news – There’s more English theatre here in Montreal this week – including the Mahalia Jackson tribute at the Segal Centre that has garnered rave reviews from several of my friends. Lots to hopefully enjoy. Just please, please, please – don’t put me to sleep.