The Arts

Soulpepper – Brian Friel’s Faith Healer

Soulpepper – Brian Friel’s Faith Healer featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Soulpepper’s production of Brian Friel’s 1979 classic Faith Healer has everything going for it on paper – an acclaimed play, a fine director and a strong cast. But it just doesn’t work. In fact, it is beyond boring.

The play deals with issues of salvation, and you could write a Ph.D. thesis on the religious parallels to Christianity. Stuart Hughes plays an itinerant Irish faith healer who goes around Scotland and Wales working miracles. He travels with his long-standing female companion, performed by Brenda Robins, and his manager, played by Diego Matamoras.

Friel uses the Rashomon structure – individual monologues that tell conflicting versions of the same event. In this play, “it is a been there, done that” effect. Friel’s text is laboured and heavy, no matter how good the acting. The piled high chairs make a statement, but the wooden barn belongs in the Old West.

The play itself is the major problem.

Faith Healer continues at the Young Centre until Jun. 4.

Faith Healer
Written by Brian Friel
Directed by Gina Wilkinson
Starring Stuart Hughes, Brenda Robbins and Diego Matamoros
Young Centre, Apr. 29 to Jun. 4, 2010

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