Jim Jones and Catherine Bruhier in Last Days of Graceland

Thursday Theatre Review: Last Days of Graceland

Don't be fooled by the title Last Days of Graceland (sorry, the TPM site is annoying these days and I can't directly link to shows...), this show isn't about Elvis. Graceland is just a vehicle to tell the story. So, if you're a rabid Elvis fan you'll likely be disappointed by the latest Theatre Passe Muraille offering. That said, if you like to watch people explore their inner lives, you'll like this one. The press release is pretty accurate when it says "Franca Miraglia's latest play is a moving tribute to the power of human forgiveness and a searing reminder of the mind's unwillingness to forget."

My show partner David, who these days only manages to get to see a play every couple of years. That said, although he stopped almost 20 years ago, he does have quite a history as an actor who used theatre as a training tool for youth.

Both of us agreed that the show was a good way to spend the evening, even if it didn't lead to big deep self-reflection and discussion afterwards. I actually don't think there is any rule that a play has to stay with you after you leave the theatre (although, it's pretty bloody cool when it does).

The piece wasn't flawless, there were some eye-roll moments that felt a bit cheesy and self-important, but there were also some wonderful moments that felt genuine. One of the great things about watching something in its entirety is that these things have the chance to balance each other out.

I asked David what his overall impression was and he said the show was "generous and well-crafted from the right place" but when I asked him if he had a favourite part he paused and said he didn't think he had one. After thinking about it some more he said he "the image of an indomitable old black queen holding up a disco ball that shimmers brighter than a torch" sits high in his heart. He said he liked the way it turned the iconic image of the Statue of Liberty on it's ass. I love it when people see stuff like that, I have no idea if that was an intended comparison by the director, but it's really fun when people these things in shows.

I'm not for a second saying this is a perfect show, but it like I said, it evens out as a decent way to spend an evening.

- Last Days of Graceland runs until Saturday, April 26 at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave) from Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm
- Tickets range from $30 (Tuesday to Thursday) to $35 (Friday & Saturday) with PWYC performances on Sundays at 2:30 pm (or $15 in advance)
- More information from the Theatre Passe Muraille box office at calling 416-504-7529

Photo of Jim Jones and Catherine Bruhier by John Narvali

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