theYYSCENE welcomes theatre reviewer, Caroline Russell-King who explores a postcard review approach, beginning with ATP’s The Virgin Trial, the sequel to last season’s The Last Wife.
Show: The Virgin Trial.
Playwright/s: Kate Hennig.
Theatre space: Alberta Theatre Projects, Martha Cohen Theatre, Arts Commons.
Length: Two Acts (two hours including a 20-minute intermission).
Genre/s: Historic drama told in a modern idiom.
Premise: The complex, political tale of Bess who flips between being a vulnerable victim and a wily manipulator, in her goal to ascend the throne in 1549 Tudor England.
Why this play? Why now?: The play continues the current discussion of status and narrative in the #MeToo movement.
Best line: “Straight men! Un-fucking believable!”
Notable writing: Hennig has a full grasp of drama and well-placed comic relief in this deft, acerbic script.
Notable performances: Solid cast, tight ensemble with kudos to Conrad Belau and Helen Knight.
Notable design: Sitting in the gods, I was able to especially appreciate David Fraser’s lighting design looking down on the thrust stage.
Notable direction: Glynis Leyshon keeps the dialogue moving at a Mamet pace.
One more reason to see this show: The promise of a strong season at ATP.
(Photo of Emma Houghton as Bess in The Virgin Trial courtesy Benjamin Laird. Set: Scott Reid. Lights: David Fraser. Costumes: Heather Moore.)
The Virgin Trial runs until Sept. 29 at the For tickets and showtimes please click here.
Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here www.carolinerussellking.com.