The Arts

Pilot Group Theatre Company – Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow

Pilot Group Theatre Company – Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow featured image

reviewed by Paula Citron
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Orson’s Shadow
Pilot Group Theatre Company
Written by Austin Pendleton
Directed by Rona Waddington
Starring Paul Eves, Janet Porter, Steve Ross, Camilla Scott, Christopher Stanton and Geoff Scovell
At Theatre Pass Muraille until Dec. 12

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I saw Orson’s Shadow at the first preview so it is patently wrong to talk about the production itself. I can, however, speak about the play, and in a word, Orson’s Shadow is exhilarating.

American playwright/director/actor Austin Pendleton wrote Orson’s Shadow based on an idea by Judith Auberjonois. It’s 1960, and famed theatre critic Kenneth Tynan orchestrates a meeting between Orson Welles and Sir Laurence Olivier.

His grand plan is for Welles to direct Olivier in Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco. He wants Welles’s sagging career to get a boost and Olivier to give his has-been reputation a kick start. Also in the mix are Tynan, Olivier’s neurotic wife, actress Vivien Leigh, and Olivier’s new lady love, actress Joan Plowright.

This gigantic clash of egos is at the heart of the play, and Pendleton’s dialogue just crackles with laugh-out-loud dialogue. These larger than life characters make for a very entertaining, if poignant. evening.

Orson’s Shadow continues at Theatre Passe Muraille until Dec. 12.

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