Thursday Theatre Review: The Sheep and The Whale

Apparently to follow a theme, once again I am featuring the English-language premiere of a piece of Canadian theatre. In this case, a translation of The Sheep and the Whale (Le mouton et la baleine) by Moroccan-born, Canadian writer Ahmed Ghazali.

The work explores racism, humanity and inhumanity. The language is harsh, the story is harsh, the setting is harsh. This is not a show to wind down and relax to.

If you're looking for an evening of light entertainment, then the Sheep and the Whale at Theatre Passe Muraille will not be for you. If I had to choose one word to describe the show it would be "intense".

This is a show that will make you think. It's certainly a show that will provide lots of great post-show drinks conversation fodder.

My show partner this week was John. John has been involved in theatre since he was just a wee one, both on stage and as a theatre tech. He's got his degree in theatre but has a 9-5 non-theatre job.

When I asked him what he thought of the show he said that for him it felt like it was trying to deliver a message instead of tell a story.

I liked that explanation, because in truth, it kind of summed up what I was thinking too. I've mentioned before that I like shows that work on multiple levels, shows that mix up intensity with humour and so on. For me this was a bit like a constant bombardment. But that comes down to personal taste, I may not have loved the experience, but someone else may very well do so.

It is a solid production, the actors were great, they were engaging and exciting to watch and I certainly heard comments around me of people indicating their enjoyment of the show, both while in the auditorium, and once I walked out of the theatre and was on the street. Personally, I think I would have benefited from knowing the level of intensity of the show before I walked in so that I could steel myself for the experience.

So, now you know - If you want to be challenged, watch something that makes you think, work a little bit for your entertainment, then check out the Sheep and the Whale at Theatre Passe Muraille this weekend. (Runs until this Sunday, March 11)

The Details:

The Sheep and the Whale runs until Sunday March 11 at Theatre Passe Muraille (Saturday runs a Matinee as well as evening show, Sunday only runs a matinee)

Ticket prices range from $15 (Sunday Matinee) to $30 depending on the time and day you choose to go. As always, call ahead to see how early you can get there, PWYC tickets run out fast.

As with most of Toronto's smaller theatres, 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.

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