From stories by Sean Dixon, Kim Moritsugu, and Michael Redhill
Directed and adapted by Heather Davies
Featuring Emily Andrews, Murray Foster, Adrian Griffin, Jack Grinhaus, Alicia Johnston, Sarah Mennell, Marilla Wex
At the Theatre Centre until August 15
By Matt McGeachy
Like many transplants to the city, I’m rather taken in by Toronto in a way that others find annoying, so when the opportunity to see Toronto Noir came up, I was thrilled to see this production that, more than that characters featured in the stories, stars Toronto itself. Although this production doesn’t rate as the best show I’ve ever seen, it was still a lovely production and certainly entertaining for the locophiles among us.
Adapted from a collection of short stories by Canadian authors, director Heather Davies has collaborated with the performers to bring the stories to the stage using classical film noir aesthetics, including dark lighting and dramatic music. The three stories are unrelated except in their aesthetic sensibility and the high quality of the actors’ performances.
Among the standout performances in this ensemble production were Murray Foster’s Plunk Henry, a down and out bass player with excellent timing and a voice to make Bogey jealous, and Sarah Mennell’s suburb performance as a jealous, petty, and ultimately murderous actress down on her luck.
The difficulties of adaptation and some questionable sequences such as a slow-motion fight scene kept the show from being totally memorable; it’s enjoyable to see our city on the stage nonetheless.