Reviewed by Paula Citron
November 9, 2011
Company Theatre/Canadian Stage
Written by Lukas Bärfuss
Directed by Jeremy Byrne
Performed by Eric Peterson, Gord Rand, Philip Riccio, Sonja Smits and Liisa Repo-Martell
Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs
Oct. 31 to Nov. 26, 2011
Canadian Stage Shows are not easy. They always challenge and provoke.
Company Theatre is one of CanStage’s residents at the Berkeley, and they picked up on Matthew Jocelyn’s suggestion of Swiss writer Lukas Bärfuss’ The Test, another nihilistic play about dysfunctional families from Europe. It’s Pinter, meets Beckett, meets Pirandello, meets Brecht, cleverly directed by Irishman Jason Byrne.
First, I have to caution actors Eric Peterson and Liisa Repo-Martell. Both are towering talents, but Peterson loses words because of poor diction, and Repo-Martell never talks loudly enough. It’s an on-going complaint I have for both of them.
The rest of the superior cast includes Sonja Smits, Gord Rand and Philip Riccio.
The heart of the play is social satire. The test in question is a paternity test, which leads to larger issues of betrayal, identity, self-worth, heritage, narcissism, and family, to name but a few. It is very intriguing, even shocking, theatre.
The Test continues at the Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs until Nov. 26.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.