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Monday, February 16, 2015

And Then The Lights Went Out, Stage West Calgary's Latest

"And Then The Lights Went Out"
by Andy Garland
Stage West Calgary

Courtesy Stage West Calgary

The Monday Morning "Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So-Here-I-Go" Entertainment Review: 

Stage West Calgary's 
"And Then The Lights Went Out"

Man, if ever you DIDN'T want lights to go out, this would be one of those productions to keep on going and going. 

A play within a play, poking fun at both the conventions of the pulp novel/noir film genres along with the challenges of the writing life, this creative endeavour brings together a great script, and a well-cast group of actors to make the characters within the story come to vivid life. 

The play itself is great fun for sure - well-paced, and filled with twists and turns you'd expect in a gumshoe yarn. The humour is particularly insightful and fun, even taking the odd playful stab at the Alberta location (Edmonton) it's set in.

For my money though, this production stands on the shoulders of the cast, each and every one making their characters cartoonish and cliched when necessary, but sympathetic, engaging and hilarious the rest of the time. 
Courtesy Stage West Calgary

Trevor Leigh clearly dove into the role of hard-boiled detective Jim O'Reiley, as does Luke Marty playing the stock-villain-with-yearnings-for-depth Bruno Dawes. As the author (Thomas Levine) with writer's block, Warren Bain keeps a calm cool head as he is surrounding by the characters he is trying to herd towards "The End" of his latest novel. 

The ladies are just as great - Chantal Perron as bombshell femme fatale Claire Valcourt, Siobhan Richardson as up-and-coming officer of the law Lucy DeBrie, and love interest neighbour of the struggling author, artist Nia Sloan (Cosette Derome).

There's also the landlady with a not-so-hidden personal agenda (Rennie Wilkinson as Adelle Berger), and Sheldon Davis as an over the top villain Duke Morrison. 

Then there was an uncredited cameo on and off in certain scenes, (even shooting a tommy gun) that seemed to very closely resemble the assistant stage manager, but....maybe I was hallucinating as much as Levine??

Look, I can't use everything here - I still have to write my official Calgary Herald review. 

Consider this an advance preview - and speaking of advance previews, I had the pleasure of chatting with the actual playwright, Andy Garland - check that feature and companion podcast out in my Calgary Herald blog space.

4.5 of 5 stars....


Mrs That Dan Guy said...

Oh ya. What a brilliant play. I really loved this play. It was so well done, fantastic, creative writing and the acting was excellent. This may be my favourite so far!

ThatDanGuy said...

Just waiting now for my official Calgary Herald review to link to!