Canadian Stage Company/Nightwood Theatre – Polly Stenham’s That Face
Canadian Stage Company/Nightwood theatre
Written by Polly Stenham
Directed by Kelly Thornton
Starring Sonja Smits, Bethany Jillard, Kristopher Turner, Nigel Bennett, Athena Karkanis and Teresa Labriola
At Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs until Nov. 21
There are dysfunctional families, and then there are the parents and their teenage children in Polly Stenham’s disturbing play That Face. English Stenham was only 19 when she wrote That Face, but her career should be gilded given her incredible talent.
The mother is a pill-popping alcoholic who has rejected her daughter in favour of a symbiotic relationship with her son. The son has dropped out of school to look after his mother. The daughter has been thrown out of her posh boarding school due to an initiation ritual gone wrong. The neglectful father lives far away with his second family. While they are all victims, they are also devoid of any moral compass.
Kelly Thornton has directed a taut production aided by six immensely talented actors. The one problem is the acoustics. This always happens when the set is not a box. The open brick work of the Berkeley Downstairs just swallows words.
That Face continues at Berkeley Street Theatre until Nov. 21.