Thursday Theatre Review: John & Beatrice

I'm a big fan of variety in my theatre. I don't mean a variety show, but a show that can work on more than one level. A show that can be funny one moment and heartbreaking the next. John & Beatrice, now playing the Tarragon Extra Space at Tarragon Theatre certainly delivered.

This is the English premiere of the play, written by Montreal playwright Carole FrĂŠchette. The show follows a woman and a man; Beatrice, who has put up posters around town saying "Notice to all men in the city: well-to-do young woman, forthright and intelligent, is seeking a man who will interest, move and seduce her: In that order. Substantial remuneration." and John, who answers the ad and is after his substantial reward.

This week I brought my friend Lisa with me, she describes herself as "A science-geek with pretensions to artsyness." She enjoys a good fringe show as much as she does, um, well, some science related thing (I have no pretensions to scienceness...)

When we first sat down Lisa immediately commented on how much she liked the set. When I asked her later about her favourite parts of the show this came up again. She said she liked the way the tromp d'oeil effects of the room mirrored the action on the stage. She said, "It's like the room was lying."

The show as a whole captured us both, but there was one scene that had us both leaning forward to be as close to the action as possible, it was the seduction scene which managed to capture both the humour and the intensity of the play in one wonderfully sexy scene.

When I asked what her least favourite part of the show was Lisa had to think long and hard, eventually she came up with the comment that some of the arguments got repetitive. I had to confess that I didn't have a 'least favourite' part of the show. It captured me all the way through.

Not only is it captivating in and of itself, but the Extra Space was a perfect venue for this show, the actors were excellent, the action intense, and the small space amplified both.

I loved the show, and the conversation it sparked afterwards.

Let me know in the comments what you thought of the show or if you think you might go see it. As always, I am really interested in hearing what other folks have thought of theatre I've seen.

The Details:

- Runs until March 24 in the Tarragon Extra Space
- Shows are Tuesday to Sunday, including Saturday and Sunday Matinees (no evening performance on Sunday)
- Ticket prices range from $17 (Sunday matinee) to $32. PWYC tickets are available for the Sunday matinee. As always, call ahead to see how early you can get there, PWYC tickets run out fast.
- Also note that there is no assigned seating so if you're choosey about where you sit, get there a bit early and line up to get in first.

Photo of Caroline Cave and Rick Roberts - image by Cylla von Tiedemann

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