Review: Clybourne Park
In 1959 a couple sell their house. At 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, their neighbours casually call in to see how packing is going. During the friendly discussion information about the buyers is revealed and tempers flare. In 2009 members of a community meet at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon to discuss neighborhood covenants before the new couple in the community start making alterations. Although their lives seem similar on the surface, their motivations are different, setting up conflict.
The actors are well cast for their dual roles, one in each era. Gavin Rutherford is superb in the first act as the male half of the couple selling the house. Who knew that so much could be communicated by the way a spoonful of ice-cream is eaten? Nikki MacDonnell plays his wife in the first act with an overlay of nervous tension. In the second she is a self-absorbed lawyer. Nancy Brunning is nicely understated as a maid, then feisty as a neighbour concerned with the history of the area. Paul Waggott is a twitchy minister who just wants everyone to get along for the first act. Jade Daniels spends most of his time on stage not saying much and reacting to the other characters. I particularly liked his physical indecision in the first act and “OMG” reaction in the second. In contrast, Andrew Foster spends a lot of both acts talking. He is totally believable (and funny) in both. Danielle Mason was excellent in both acts.
This play was promoted to me as “equal opportunity offensive” so I was a little bit nervous. Curiously I found it less emotionally offensive than some of the other plays I’ve seen this year. Some of the content is so outrageous it went straight past my ability to take it seriously. It was lots of fun.
- Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris on at Circa One to 6 October 2012.