The Arts

Soulpepper – Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and Shaffer’s Black Comedy

Soulpepper – Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and Shaffer’s Black Comedy featured image

Paula Citron
The Real Inspector Hound written by Tom Stoppard
Black Comedy written by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Jim Warren
Starring Caroline Cave, Oliver Dennis, C. David Johnson, Corrine Koslo, Mike Shara, Michael Simpson, William Webster and Sarah Wilson
Young Centre until Sept. 27

Soulpepper has a giant hit in the double bill of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound and Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy which both use the same complement of actors. Both plays are written in the absurdist-cum-farce style so beloved in the 1960s.

Stoppard has a theatre critic end up as a character on stage in the middle of the worst mystery play ever written, while Shafer reverses perspective. When the protagonists’ flat blows a fuse, the stage lights come on and we can see the characters stumbling in the supposed darkness.

Absurdism also means that a deeper layer lies beneath the laughter. Director Jim Warren, with his background in clowning, can certainly choreograph the physical laughs, but the darkness is hard to find. The action is sometimes over the top, but the audience is having too much fun to care. Actor Oliver Dennis is a stand-out.

The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy continue at the Young Centre until Sept. 27.

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