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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Kiss of the Spider Woman

Rehearsal shot from Kiss of the Spider Woman with Sarah Jestadt (unmasked) (photo credit:  Eric Chad)

By Rachel Zuroff

Kiss of the Spider Woman, put on by the McGill Arts Undergraduate Theatre Society, is a tour de force.  The AUTS has a history of putting on successful shows, including last year’s Cabaret, and Kiss of the Spider Woman continues their winning streak.

The story follows two wildly different prison inmates in Latin America as they help each other survive the prison and ultimately to change and grow. One, Molina, a professional window dresser, has been jailed for homosexual acts with a minor.  The other, Valentin, has been incarcerated for Marxist activity. Kiss of the Spider Woman successfully navigates between tragedy as we hear the screams of the tortured inmates and watch Molina and Valentin struggle to survive and the light-hearted moments as Molina and Valentin are allowed to escape the hell they have entered—through their fantasized films sequences—and convince each other that beauty and hope still exist.

The acting throughout the play is superb, with neither weak moments nor weak actors.  Zara Jestadt as Aurora is superb.  Previously seen as a Kit Kat girl in last year’s production of Cabaret, she steals every scene she graces. Renée Hodgins decision to cast three actors as the prison warden to speak simultaneously was equally brilliant as it adds immeasurably to the fear they produce. Special kudos to the musical director, Dan Garmon, for the superb singing and music he elicits from the performers.

Kiss of the Spider Woman runs at Moyse Hall until 29 January. 


  1. Although much of this review is true, KITW does not take place in Fascist Spain. According to the script, it takes place in "a prison in Latin America, somewhere in the recent past".

  2. there are lots of subtle references to it being in argentina, though. but yes, somewhere in latin america, and the recent past being recent past from 1992 when it was written =]


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