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Fringe Review: The Last Piece has solid performances

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Tara Pratt and Joanna Gaskell bring solid performances to The Last Piece at the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival.

When Jacqueline Korb’s lesbian romcom first appeared on stage at the Havana Theatre in 2011, I likened it to a Katherine Heigl movie.  Fast-forward a couple of years and some smart re-writes, and The Last Piece manages to go a little deeper.

Tara Pratt and Joanna Gaskell bring solid performances to The Last Piece at the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival.

Tara Pratt and Joanna Gaskell bring solid performances to The Last Piece at the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival.

Two years ago it was Tara Pratt’s performance as Kate that had me recommending the show.  This year Joanna Gaskell matches Pratt and rises to the challenges of Korb’s script that continues to relegate her character to the role of therapist.

Along with the drama, as with any good romcom there are some genuinely funny laugh-out-loud moments.  Pratt is positively hilarious as she plays the question game, walking to the fine line of absurdity without actually crossing it.  Gaskell makes the perfect straight woman and her reaction to the pillow talk near the end of the show is priceless.

The play isn’t perfect as it has a tendency to drag, especially when the two women get inside their own heads.  The addition of music, which was missing in the 2011 version, is a welcome addition.  Korb has also decided to forgo the Hollywood-style ending and while I am sure it will meet some resistance from a few who saw the last version, it does realistically acknowledge that sometimes life sucks.

The playwright has said in past interviews that lesbians rarely have an opportunity to see their stories on stage in this genre and she is right.  It is for that reason, combined with two solid performances (including a couple hot make-out scenes), it should have the women flocking to the Havana.

The Last Piece

Written and directed by Jacqueline Korb.  A Little Basket Theatre Company production as part of the 2013 Vancouver Fringe Festival.  On stage at the Havana Theatre through September 15, 2013.  Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for exact showtimes and tickets.

Mark Robins on Google+

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