Reviews - Fringe 2018

The Director's Cut

By Bryan Boodhoo
Published July 28, 2018

The Director's Cut
The Director's Cut

The Director's Cut is Liz Buchanan's and 9M Theatre's latest offering. It is co-written by herself and her brother Scott Buchanan. It's a nice bookend to "Under the Apple Tree", in that they both deal with theatre in the early part of the twentieth century, and many will recognize the familiar local names.

In The Director's Cut, Charles (Charles LoManto) is a middle-aged, silent film director. He's been recently divorced, and his wife now owns the production company he works for. The main conflict in the play is that Charlie can no longer fully indulge his artistic passions, and needs to get things done, as per his contract. His ex-wife gives him an ultimatum: fulfill the contract or you're out of a job.

Meanwhile, Nora (Krista McNaughton) is trying to woo a young dashing actor whose star is on the rise (Scott Buchanan). Charles convinces Nora that she should make her beloved jealous...by being passionately in love with another man. Where would she find such a man to take on this role? Charles will gladly play the part.

Although the plot of the show was a tad too predictable and the ending seemed rushed, Charles LoManto gives an engrossing performance. It's nice to see him on stage with his former Ugly Sticks partner Leonard Cain.

The costumes were great and the use of video in the show was a very nice touch. I'm not sure why it was so pixelated, but that can be excused at a Fringe show. It was clear enough, and at times truly funny. Think vaudeville. Think fisticuffs. The stage management was also good.

There were a number of legal and historical anachronisms, but for light fare, this probably isn't too much of a distraction. It wasn't clear, for example, why the characters were using swords, instead of, say, pistols, but that too can be excused as it was mostly fun to watch.

The fight choreography in this show is a little mixed. The first fight between LoManto and McNaughton was truly entertaining to watch. The second fight between McNaughton and Rebekah Pullen was less so, in part because there was less movement between either of the two fighters.

There were parts of the show that were over-acted for my taste, but it was billed as a being "on the set of a silent-era melodrama", so it wasn't entirely out of place.

The Director's Cut is entertaining light fare from local Hamilton talent. It is a delightful way to spend a weekend afternoon or evening.

Bryan Boodhoo is a Hamilton-based playwright, director, short fiction writer and lawyer. His plays have been produced in Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo and Hamilton. He is also part of the Theatre Aquarius Playwright's Unit. His most recent play, "G-Star Live's Notes from IKEA Burlington" is playing at Evergreen Hamilton Community Storefront (294 James St. North) as part of the 2018 Hamilton Fringe Gallery series.

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