The Arts

Tarragon Theatre – Morris Panych’s Benevolence

by Paula Citron

Even the prolific playwright/director Morris Panych has to sometimes come a cropper. His new play Benevolence is a confused mix of themes that lacks a central focus. It is like the manipulation of Svengali and Trilby and The Phantom of the Opera and Christine, meet the role reversals in Robin Maugham’s short story The Servant.

It begins with a middle class, uptight orthotics salesman played by Tom Rooney giving a $100 to a very articulate and cultured street bum played by Stephen Ouimette. This benevolence ends up with the panhandler taking over Oswald’s life and forcing both him and his girlfriend Audrey, played by Jennifer Wigmore, to change their lives in the name of freedom. Also mixed into the soggy plot are Gina Wilkinson’s prostitute and Colin Heath’s porno patron.

That the play is set in a seedy porno film house just adds to Panych’s confused social satire, although Ken MacDonald’s set is astonishing.

Benevolence continues until Oct. 27.

From the Tarragon Mainspace, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.

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