The debut offering from the Loose Cannons Collective, Getting Through, examines the continued importance of our individual and collective pasts to our present relationships in a drama that’s swift, funny, and interesting.
Playwright Aiden Dewhirst has crafted a pair of interesting characters that hurt and laugh with surprising wit. Abigail and Aaron are almost too clever to be real, but reveal just enough awkwardness in their vulnerability to show that the wit is just a careful shield for their hurts. The script flows smoothly between the formative experiences of the characters’ lives and the present moment, building tension through words, rather than actions. It is only when their words and wit finally fail that the characters can confront the tension that has been built up between them over the play.
Dewhirst’s direction also helped with these transitions, as the physical positions of the actors seemed to serve as mental springboards to address the character’s memories. I have to say that I wasn’t wild about the magic box behind the table that contained the props necessary for each scene, though I can appreciate the need for it in this production. I found it detracted a bit from the otherwise crisp transitions between scenes, and the realist aspect of the items in the box seems in slight conflict with the smooth transitions into memory. Perhaps considering a slightly more emblematic use of a smaller set of objects would help with this.
The actors, Philip Merriman and Alexa Higgins, are spot-on in their (principal) roles as Aaron and Abigail, respectively. You can feel the right sorts of nuanced tension in their performance throughout the show as they move between scenes as young lovers and their somewhat jaded present relationship. In their roles as the parents, Liam and Sarah, I appreciate the differences of manner and physicality that brought these characters to life. Merriman especially succeeded in this respect, though perhaps this came through because Sarah and Abigail are more similar in their consistent stress throughout the script.
I thought the choice to emphasize the young Abigail’s accent was the acting choice that worked the least well for me; a more subtle change in Higgins’ voice would have done the same job much more effectively. The character’s geographic origin is so much less important than where she comes from in her relationship with her father, Liam, that putting so much focus on it becomes a distraction from the main thrust of those scenes.
I am very encouraged by this offering from the young company, which represents a solid foundation highlighting the already strong talents developing in Ottawa’s theatre scene. This play is worth a look for its young local talent, and its clever depiction of a relationship on the ropes.
Upcoming Shows: (Venue #5 ODD Box)
June 27 @ 17:30
June 28 @ 19:30