Reviews - Fringe 2009

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

By Judith Sandiford
Published July 19, 2009

Shanley's much-produced 1984 play is a favourite for actors, a neat two-hander with lots of opportunity to swear. This is often called "gritty realism", but you should be alerted by Shanley's subtitle "An Apache Dance" that the play is a fantasy.

In fact, Shanley explains, "An Apache Dance is a violent dance for two people originated by Parisian apaches. Parisian apaches are gangsters or ruffians." (Nothing to do with the Apache Nation.)

The dance, quite a fad in Paris (1910-1920), was an emulation of an abusive domestic brawl, with the woman as victim - the man tosses the woman around, drags her by the hair, throws her on the floor. So that's the "choreography".

We are already a couple of layers into fantasy here. Shanley then takes this choreography and rearranges it to make a redemptive parable, and the play loses its emotional believability. But you were warned.

The current production in The Hamilton Fringe is performed by a pair of theatre students at York University who are to be applauded for getting out there and doing it. Jamie Maczko does a fine job as the angry Danny.

Kaitlin Janisse tries but needs to dig deeper. It's hard to follow her down into her self-loathing. I wish the production had taken more care with its look - the set is an odd mish-mash and I don't know why, and that orange top is way too middle-class.

Judith Sandiford is a theatre designer, a visual artist, and Managing Director of Artword Theatre. With partner playwright and director Ronald Weihs, she created and operated a performance facility in Toronto, where, for over 12 years, they created, fostered and presented many original works of theatre and dance. In 2008, Artword relocated to Hamilton where it has just completed its season of four original works with a Hamilton theme. Artword is currently working on its plans for its 2009-2010 season here.


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By redwinger (anonymous) | Posted July 20, 2009 at 09:54:14

Albeit an imperfect production (ain't life!). This production was fantastic!
A little less on the historical "context" of the piece by our reviewer here and more on the actual performance is much warranted from a very beautful and revealing production.
Congrats to all involved and thank you.

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By A Fan (anonymous) | Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:07:01

We thought that this was an amazing production. A great deal of credit needs to be given to both young actors for demonstrating confidence, courage and fortitude to pull off a commanding and incredible performance.

The story evoked a great deal of powerful emotion amongst the audience, some of whom were moved to tears. It was a compelling encounter with desperation, softened by the hope of a more promising future. It is a tale and performance that will not soon be forgotten.

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