Reviews - Fringe 2009

The Sons of Sisyphus

By Tom Mackan
Published July 18, 2009

this blog entry has been updated

By Angelo Constanzo
Directed by Julian Nicholson
Featuring Julian Nicholson, John Bond, Jane Smyth, Steve O'Brien, Ken Holden, Max Rose Begg Goodis, AJ Haygarth, David Hudson, Sondra Richter

A slice of a play, we're told, and with that we get a slice of the sordid half-life in our prison system. Much is told to us in an opening soliloquy by actor/director Nicholson playing an authoritative figure of the system.

His delivery of the speech has intelligent pace and practised delivery, obviously an actor comfortable with himself and in his role. The writing is quite superb in this bit.

This is an all-male prison. Four actors then have a scene and the Sysyphus allusion becomes painfully clear. No one can be allowed to complete the task of paying for his crime.

The performances are strong throughout, and the writer has given each a scene with something to chew on and each makes the most of his moment. A foil for each scene is a visitor whose relationship to the prisoner amply demonstrates that there is little hope for resolution from friend or family.

Among these excellent performances, and well worth the price of admission, are Steve O'Brien, a seasoned local actor who delivers the goods in dual roles; A.J. Haygarth, desperate to yield his psychopathic soul to his maker; and David Hudson's transsexual in a poignant rejection of his father's values.

All the performances could have been better served, I think, by a smart re-arranging of the furniture to let us see more than profiles. But a bit of staged choreography down centre at one point has no problem with visibility - a really brilliant bit.


Update: This blog entry originally mis-named the names of the actors. RTH appreciates the helpful comments pointing out the error. You can jump to the changed paragraph.

Tom Mackan is Publisher and editor of NEWZY BITZ, an online Community Theatre newsletter in the GHA, with over 200 subscribers. He is a Member of the Board, Theatre Burlington; an actor and director in GHA Community Theatre for fifty years; winner of over 25 awards and citations in the Western Ontario region and beyond; recipient of 2007 City of Hamilton Arts Award (Theatre); a Graduate of Canadian Theatre School (Sterndale Bennett) Toronto, 1955; and a retired teacher of English and Drama in public and private schools in the GHA and abroad.

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By 42 (anonymous) | Posted July 18, 2009 at 15:08:33

The names of the actors and the characters they play are incorrect in this review.

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