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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Depflies

The strange and wondrous world of convenience
Dépflies Inaugurates a Serial Comedy
By Byron Toben

Welcome to the wonderful world of Dépflies.

A dép fly is one who hangs out at the local depanneur, something like the more well known bar fly. Depflies, which had a 3 day run Jan 12-14, is the opening salvo of a projected monthly serial involving the talented improv souls oft seen at Alain Mercieca's Theatre Ste. Catherine. While the feeling of episode one was improvisational, it was scripted by Mr. Mercieca, who also stars. This bilingual show did not need perfect command of both languages to understand the plot or jokes.

Not to overglorify it, but in some ways Mercieca is the Chekhov of St. Henri with a slice of life assortment of types trapped by their station in life. Chekhov was turned into serious stuff by Stanislavski, but he himself had envisioned his plays as big laugh getters. There are soupcons of Seinfeld word play...the sad architectural student (Peter Stevens) espousing “neo-functionalism” or a wistful  habitué (Mercieca) loving winter, because one can “hunker down”, both phrases evoking mirth and derision from the rest of the ensemble.

Lise Vigneault as an anarchistic dog walker, Sandi Armstrong as an anglo babe with a separatist lay-about lover (Simon Chaverie) were aided and abetted by three other funny ladies...the tall (Elizabeth Pennell), the short (Catherine Robinson) and the relative…she's Mercieca's sister-in -law (Maite Sinave).

While this is no Coronation Street, still, its cast of lovable losers bodes well to attract a cult following.

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