Ngozi Paul, Jamie Robinson, Elizabeth Saunders, Patrice Goodman and Xuan Fraser in Touch the Sky

Thursday Theatre Review: Touch the Sky

Touch the Sky, playing at Lorainne Kimsa Theatre for Young People (LKTYP), focuses on Belle, the daughter of a slave owner and his slave. Belle has been granted freedom and is ready to marry, but her father demands that he make the decision of who her husband will be.

Although the show is ostensibly for kids, it certainly plays well for adults too. The production was great, and the story was interesting and I really enjoyed watching it.

My show partner for this - Nicole, who is an actress herself (in fact, I met her by reviewing one of her shows) also enjoyed the show. We talked about how excellent the performances were. Nicole describes Patrice Goodman's performance as Belle as a spot-on portrayal of someone who is having a very extraordinary time - we can feel that this is not the way things usually play out for Belle. It takes a great performance to silently expose a back-story that isn't in the script.

Another performance that stood out for me, that has stuck with me after the show, randomly popped into my mind days later, is the performance Xuan Fraser as Eddie. But in truth, all the performers in this show were great, as was the direction by Allen MacInnis.

Nicole and I talked about whether or not there was anything that bothered us in the show. We both identified the same point, although Nicole far more eloquently than I. In the beginning of the show, the power relationship between characters was not as explicit as it could have been. The interactions between slaves and non-slaves that had far less tension than we would have expected. Still, the relationships still read well in the most crucial moments, but it would have been nice to set that tone early on.

There was one other point that Nicole noticed that I didn't, but that I completely agree with. At the end of the show Belle refers to her "Daddy", which creates a bit of a feeling of disconnect since it's hard to believe that Belle would ever call her father that.

But those are merely a couple quibbles in a performance that is overall quite excellent.

It's a great production of an interesting play, and well worth seeing - but it closes on Saturday. That leaves you with two more days to catch this one, Friday at 10:15am and Saturday at 2pm.

I have a not-so-secret hope that this show will be remounted in Toronto in an intimate venue. I think it would be great to see what this would look like with a focus towards adults. So, if anyone out there has been thinking they want to produce a show and haven't known what to do, might I suggest Michael Miller's Touch the Sky?

- Touch the Sky runs until Saturday March 1 at LKTYP (165 Front Street East)
- Tickets are $25 for Adults and $15 for Youth (under 18) and Seniors

Photo of Ngozi Paul, Jamie Robinson, Elizabeth Saunders, Patrice Goodman and Xuan Fraser by Daniel Alexander

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