Love hurts in Kristen Thomson's achingly honest new play
Presented by Crow's Theatre in association with Canadian Stage
Written by Kristen Thomson
Directed by Chris Abraham
At once bitterly funny and devastatingly tragic, Kristen Thomson's Someone Else cuts deep under the skin. Directed by Crow's Theatre artistic director Chris Abraham, the dark comedy about a disintegrating marriage opened at the Berkeley Street Theatre on Thursday night as part of Canadian Stage's current season.
The play follows a middle-aged couple in therapy: Cathy, a struggling stand-up comedian (played by the hilarious Thomson) and her husband Peter (Tom Rooney), a doctor at a community clinic. After 18 years their relationship seems beyond repair, and each accuses the other of becoming someone else. The foundation of their union is futher shaken when Peter begins an intense relationship with April (Bahia Watson), a 19-year-old self-harming patient.
Barely able to contain her anger and resentment, Cathy pushes Peter away even when he tries to make things work, while their teenaged daughter Vanessa (Nina Taylor) is caught in the middle. But when crisis strikes the former lovers are forced to stop and see each other for the first time in years.
Thomson steals the show as the wildly sarcastic and self deprecating Cathy, her vitriolic disappointment slowly errupting into out of control hysteria, while Rooney's nuanced depiction of Peter, a shell of the man he used to be, is complemented by Watson's fresh and vulnerable April.
But the most surprising performance is Damien Atkins' outstanding portrayal of the disabled, wheelchair-bound David, a man from Peter's not-so-pretty past who makes an unforgettable appearance towards the end of the play.
The structure of Someone Else is bumpy and disorienting at times, but Abraham manages to bring all of the moving parts together in the end. Featuring a stripped-down set by Julie Fox and revealing lighting by Kimberly Purtell, this ferocious production is truly something else.
Someone Else runs until Febuary 2 at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Visit crowstheatre.com for more information and to buy tickets.