by Paula Citron
The Soulpepper production of William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Time of Your Life is a mixed bag of questionable directing and acting.
The play takes place in a waterfront dive in San Francisco in 1939, and Saroyan paints a philosophical portrait of America through the people who pass through the bar, be they the good, the bad and the ugly.
Joseph Ziegler anchors the large cast as Joe, the mysterious rich man with a conscience. He gives a compelling performance, although towards the end, one realizes he’s been the same throughout.
Director Albert Schultz has not been able to weld together a sense of ensemble. In a play of many conversations, his pacing is ragged. There are also too many examples of mail-in acting, although several veteran actors manage to rise above the fray.
The play, however, is an American classic, and should be seen for that reason alone.
The Time of Your Life continues at the Young Centre until Aug. 11.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.