Review by Lauren Collins
While Marion Bridge is by no means an action-packed play, the actors and their characters’ stories, which are well-written, will keep the audience wondering what will happen next.
Marion Bridge, a play by Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor, tells the story of three sisters who return home to Sydney, Nova Scotia to be with their dying mother. The three sisters, Agnes, Theresa and Louise, haven’t spent much time together in recent years, and while learning to accept their mother’s terminal illness, and eventual passing, the women learn to come together as a family unit.
Agnes (played by Heather Haseltine) is a drunk actress who has come back from her current home in Toronto. Agnes opens the play with her monologue about a recurring dream where she drowns. While figuring out what the dream and the monologue means so early on in the play is difficult, Haseltine commands the stage, setting the tone for her character throughout the rest of Marion Bridge.
Theresa (played by Vicki Barta) has been living as a nun on a farm in recent years and is seen as the peacemaker of the three sisters. While Theresa seems more softspoken in comparison to Agnes, it’s during the second act that Barta takes her turn commanding the stage in a performance that will easily bring tears to the audiences’ eyes. Barta’s performance shows a much-needed depth into her character.
Louise (played by Cheryl Dendoff), often described as the strange one, has been living at home, always watching her TV shows. While it might not seem that Louise commands the stage as much as her two sisters — she’s usually talking, as if almost to no one, while her two sisters argue on either side of her — Dendoff does well bringing out the quirks and strangeness of her character.
Director Wendy Punter said she felt that the character Louise had borderline Asperger syndrome, so that was how they played the character. Throughout the play, Dendoff does a great job of portraying that in her character with the way she fixates on minor conversation topics and how she sees life differently from her two sisters.
Marion Bridge opens tonight at the Village Theatre (110 W. Second Ave., Qualicum Beach) and will run until March 5. While there is some blasphemy, there are no four-letter words, violence or sex. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $11 for students. Tickets are available at the theatre’s box office.
For more information, visit the website: www.echoplayers.ca.