By Larry Kramer
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Featuring John Bourgeois, Mark Crawford, Paul Essiembre, Ryan Kelly, Mark McGrinder, Jeff Miller, Sarah Orenstein, Jonathan Seinen and Jonathan Wilson
The Chamber @ Buddies in bad times
PWYC - $35.00, 20% disc. for patrons assisting patrons with disabilities
Tickets now on sale call 416 975-8555
Presented by Studio 180
In Association with Buddies in Bad Time Theatre
The Normal Heart is a play that every gay man must see at least once in his lifetime! Larry Kramer's brilliant searing 1985 drama about the beginning of the AIDS crisis is a play that informs, disturbs and most definitely educates. Especially to those audience members who were not around in the early eighties when the crisis broke out.
Around that time a professional production was mounted at The Bathurst Street Theatre but faded quickly. However, after a successful Broadway revival last spring, which I am sure, inspired this production, I'm thrilled that one of my favorite plays is back with a cast of talented local actors.
Although I highly recommend this production, (not only to gay men) I can't say that it isn't flawed. Jonathan Wilson, an extremely talented Canadian actor, is miscast as the Larry Kramer based character Ned Weeks. I understand actors embody mannerisms and attributes of others, but the two most important driving qualities of Mr. Kramer is that he is Jewish and A New Yorker. Unfortunately for this particular character, Mr. Wilson ineffectively covey's these elements perhaps these qualities are just not in the actors DNA .
Effectively staged, Joel Greenberg's direction at times seems rushed and hurried. The overall feeling one gets is that the actors and director are very aware there that their play is two and a half hours long and they need to get it done quickly, too quick for my taste.
Standout Jeff Miller portrays Weeks longtime companion Felix Turner to perfection with humor, empathy and believability, especially toward the end of the play. I smell a Dora for sure!