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Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: Four Minutes If You Bleed

l-r Alex Haber, K.C. Combs, Paula Costain, Amelia Sargisson, Paula Jean Hixson
(Photo credit: Daniel Francis Haber)

Four Minutes If You Bleed, or…
Puck without the Shakespeare
By Byron Toben 

This laugh-a-minute seasonal play is tailored for a Montreal audience. Christmas and hockey sounds like a can't miss proposition. And the delivery of the product, by local playwrights Ned Cox and Alexandria Haber is great fun to watch.

The play opens and closes with a Santa suited Nic (Neil Napier) addressing the audience in a Shakespearean iambic pentameter intro about the scenes yet to unfold. He playfully concludes by advising the audience to call him Puck.

This segues into a hockey penalty box scene where words that rhyme with puck are freely bantered. Two amateur players, Randy (Carlo Mestroni) and James (Shawn Campbell) are pre-occupied with hockey talk.  Randy is scheduled to marry Jane (Paula Jean Hixson) the eldest of  four sisters living in the country. Jane is the most uptight of the group (think Bree from Desperate Housewives).

The other three are widely different. Middle sisters Tilly (KC Coombs) a 60s flower child type and Beth (Ms. Haber), a world-weary type are contrasted with young Sabina (Amelia Sargisson) an eager student.

They all grieve their departed mother and sibling rivalries re-erupt at their re-unions. This is exacerbated when Randy becomes a no-show at the spring wedding.

In a sub plot, James has broken up with Marie (Paula Costain), a friend of the sisters. As Christmas approaches, James urges Randy to beg forgiveness and return to Jane. They drive the wintry roads to the cottage, and, aided by the faux Santa, gear up to do so. So, après tout, and a whole lotta clowning around, All's Well That Ends Well.

My own suggestions for the playwrights:  
Change the title. I got an idea. Four Sisters…one more than Chekov!
Chase product placement money; Coca Cola (who created the modern Santa image in 1931) as well as purveyors of brand named turkeys, cars, hockey equipment.

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