Thursday Theatre Review: Whale Music

This week I went to the extraspace of Tarragon Theatre to see the Seventh Stage Theatre Productions show Whale Music, "a portrayal of the lives of a group of young women on the Isle of Wight, England in the early 1980s that come together for the duration of an unplanned pregnancy amongst them." And no, this has nothing to do with the Paul Quarrington book that inspired the Rheostatics album and the movie.

The show started with a beautifully sung lullaby, a lovely way to set the stage. And it didn't stop there, as the show moved forward I found myself caring about the characters, laughing with them and crying with them.

I must admit that overall for me the second half came across stronger than the first. I enjoyed the whole piece, but by the second half the actors had really reached their stride and seemed more comfortable in their characters.

The show wasn't quite as popular with Dean, my show-partner this week. Interestingly, it was an appropriate show for Dean to come to because he is an artist who is thinking about having a baby, either his own or adopting, two themes that are well explored in this piece.

When I asked him what he thought of the piece he said that he had expected to be more moved by it given the subject matter. He also pointed out that, for him, the first half of the play moved fairly slowly. He did enjoy the second part though; he was impressed by the expression of what seemed to be true emotion on stage as tears streamed down actors faces. Also, in his words "the mother really brought it home".

All this talk of emotions might make you think that it is a sombre piece, but in fact it's also full of laughs and the women on stage are a delight to watch. One interesting thing noted by Dean; there were a lot more women in the audience than men. I suppose that means that this is kind of seen as the stage version of a chick-flick. I would hate to see that stop men from going to see it, because I think that although different people will take away different things from this show, that's kind of what going to the theatre is all about.

- Runs until May 20th at the Tarragon Extraspace (30 Bridgman Avenue - one block north of Dupont off Bathurst)
- 8pm shows Tuesday to Saturday, 2:30pm matinees Saturday and Sunday
- Ticket prices range from $17 to $27 with Sunday matinees as PWYC
- Box office 416-531-1827 or online at www.TOtix.ca

Photo of Melissa-Jane Shaw, Rosa Laborde, Mika Collins by Natasha Kauffman

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