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Idiot's Delight

Soulpepper re-awakens Sherwood's entertaining and insightful masterpiece

Presented by Soulpepper
Written by Robert E. Sherwood
Directed by Albert Schultz

Dan Chameroy & Raquel Duffy in Idiot's Delight. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

First presented by The Theatre Guild on Broadway in 1936, Robert E Sherwood's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Idiot's Delight was ahead of its time in predicting the fallout that would lead to the Second World War—a fact that is even more astonishing in hindsight. This season, Soulpepper breathes new life into this rarely seen work in a charming revivial that highlights a multi-talented cast under the direction of Albert Schultz.

Set in a resort hotel in the Italian Alps overlooking Austria, Germany and Switzerland, Idiot's Delight brings together a company of international characters the weekend war breaks out across Europe. When a train to Geneva is suddenly stopped by Captain Locicero (Paolo Santalucia), the empty Hotel Monte Gabriele, run by the Italian Pittaluga (Tony DeSantis) and American Donald Navadel (Jeff Lillico), suddenly springs into life, playing host to an unlikely and rich variety of guests: a German Doctor (William Webster); English newlyweds Mr. Cherry (Gordon Hecht) and Mrs. Cherry (Mikaela Davies); American entertainer Harry Van (played by the always delightful Dan Chameroy) and his cabaret of five blondes (played by Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster, Katherine Gauthier, Steffi Didomenicantonio, Hailey Gillis and Oyin Oladejo); a passionate and outspoken French pacifist (Gregory Prest); the famous munitions manufacturer Achille Weber (Diego Matamoros) and his mysterious Russian companion Irene (a wonderfully adventurous Raquel Duffy). At the heart of the show is the friendly hotel waiter Dumpsty (played with great subtlety by Evan Buliung), a family man of Austrian heritage who was taken captive by Italian soldiers in the last war.

As they await an uncertain fate, the patrons of Hotel Monte Gabriele sing, dance, drink and reminisce about previous lives in this hopeful exploration of love and human nature during the darkest of days. Mike Ross' musical direction whisks the audience back to the time of Cole Porter's "It's De-Lovely" and Irving Berlin's "Let's Face The Music And Dance," while Lorenzo Savoini's set and costumes provide just the right touch of elegance and glamour against the chilling sound of fighter planes and bombs (a credit to sound designer John Gzowski).

Sherwood's script is remarkably complex yet lighthearted, presenting a haunting juxtaposition between decency and supreme evil. Don't miss Soulpepper's refreshing resurrection of this enduring classic.

Idiot's Delight runs until March 1 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Thu, 2014-01-30 - Sat, 2014-03-01
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