Picture This

Soulpepper comedy paints farcical picture of the film industry

Presented by Soulpepper Theatre Company
Written by Morris Panych and Brenda Robbins
Based upon The Battle of Waterloo by Melchior Lengyel
Directed by Morris Panych

Picture This Ensemble, photo: Cylla von Tiedemann.

Fall theatre season is upon us, and Soulpepper is staging the Canadian premiere of a comedy adapted by Morris Panych and Brenda Robbins based upon The Battle of Waterloo by Hungarian playwright Melchior Lengyel.

Set in 1922 Budapest, Picture This follows several ambitious members of the Hungarian film industry as they seek their moment of fame. The action takes place in a hotel where the presence of a big time movie producer, Mr. Red (Cliff Saunders), draws the attention of every aspiring performer, director and musician in town, including failed filmmaker Romberg (Jordan Pettle) and ambitious actress Milli (Michelle Monteith) who hope to strike the deal with the Hollywood heavyweight. Events take a chaotic turn when Romberg and Milli mistake Mr. Brown (David Storch)a meek furrier from Buffalofor Mr. Red's business partner and convince him to produce a film they have just invented (an epic about the battle of Waterloo) in only two weeks.

The audience watches in disbelief as the ensemble scrambles to pull off this impossible feat, made even more difficult by the diva antics of lead actor Boleslav (Robert Persichini), who refuses to play the role of Napoleon unless he is paid upfront. When Mr. Brown's true identity is revealed, the doomed plan goes from bad to worse and yet somehow everyone involved remains hopeful that the show will go on.

Featuring a beautiful set by Ken MacDonald and elegant costumes by Dana Osborne, Picture This is a lighthearted, entertaining piece with a top-notch cast. Morris Panych's clever staging highlights the play's physicality, especially in the final scenes, where the production's comedic vision finally pays off. The first half of the show takes a while to find its legs, as much of the script is focused on setting up misunderstandings that will play out in the second half.

The humour in Picture This is silly and may not appeal much to those who prefer comedy in the form of razor-sharp wit. That being said, Gregory Prest's performance as the hapless actor Hudascek is enough to keep you smiling for days.

Picture This runs until October 7, 2017 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit soulpepper.ca for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Fri, 2017-09-15 - Sat, 2017-10-07
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