Review: One Good Marriage

We’ve all been there.  Getting away for a few days and returning to find out you forgot to cancel the newspaper, forgot to water the plants or maybe something a little more serious, like a burst water pipe.  But what if you went away for a few days and something really big happened?  And I’m not just talking “your dog got hit by a car” big.  I’m talking REALLY big.  How would you react?  How would you cope?

One Good MarriageSuch is the premise of Canadian playwright Sean Reycraft’s dark comedy, One Good Marriage, currently being presented by Fighting Chance Productions at the Rosedale on Robson Hotel.

A simple two-person play that is literally over in an instant – the show runs barely 60 minutes – Steph (Becky Shrimpton) and Stewart (Jeff McMahan) enter to begin the story of the last two years of their lives from their courtship through to their marriage and finally to that “really big” event .

Reycraft’s writing demands a very natural conversational style from the two actors as they tell their story and while McMahan easily found this style, Shrimpton struggled to consistently match McMahan, resulting in an unevenness that was at times a little distracting.  Both actors, however, were equally as successful in allowing the memories of the central event to percolate just below the surface as they tried desperately to hold themselves together.

Director Ryan Mooney has wisely made this mostly about his actors and gives them very little stage business; for the most part the story is told by the two actors from two banquet room chairs at the front of the room.

This is a bare bones production, and rightly so, providing another level of authenticity that the text deserves.  A set is virtually non-existent and while actually holding the show in a banquet room of a local hotel may seem a little strange, once the show starts it makes perfect sense.  Lighting is provided by what is available in the room.

Despite some unevenness, One Good Marriage is a solid piece that turns theatre slightly on its edge.

3of5stars One Good Marriage continues nightly at the Rosedale on Robson (838 Hamilton Street) through October 24th.  Visit http://fightingchanceproductions.ca for tickets and information.

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