Teatro La Quindicina: “Thrubwell’s Pies”

Mack and I went to check out the last Teatro la Quindicina production of the year, titled Thurbwell’s Pies. While not written by Stewart Lemoine, he is credited on the program with assisting actress/playwright Belinda Cornish with her latest work. She received much praise for her first play Diamond Dog, so there was some excitement going into her sophomore try.

From AIEEEEE!, the “Voice of Teatro La Quindicina”:

“Set in a gothic manor house in the misty depths of Somerset, England, Thrubwell’s Pies is itself a delicious concoction, with a flaky crust of laughs concealing a toothsome filling of harrowing and unexpected twists and turns. Sheri Somerville stars as Alicia Montague, the tempestuous wheelchair-bound heiress to a pie-baking fortune, with Mark Meer as her impeccably perplexed new husband Shepton. Author Belinda Cornish also appears as their surly and inscrutable maid Scrofula, and Rapid Fire Theatre/Theatresports whiz kid Amy Shostak makes her Teatro debut in the role of Nettie Thrubwell, a winsome bakeress whose arrival in the neighbourhood has completely calamitous consequences for all.”

This is probably the first play starring more than two people that I’ve seen in recent years where each member of the cast has an equal role in the play, both in terms of stage time and importance to the story. I wouldn’t consider any of the characters “supporting”, as even the maid Scrofula, seen creeping in the background in the early scenes, is later featured in the climactic and suspenseful ending.

I didn’t see Diamond Dog, so I didn’t know what to expect, but if Thrubwell’s Pies is any indication of Cornish’s abilities as a playwright, I’m sold. Unlike some of Lemoine’s plays, the audience was immediately teased with an undertone of mystery, and we were hooked, wanting to find out more about Alicia’s history, Nettie’s motives and the root of Scrofula’s odd behaviors. Also, the payoff was worth the wait – I almost wished we could have skipped the intermission altogether.

The cast was great as well, despite the uneven British accents. And though I’ve seen Meer in roles that cast him in more everyman positions, it still throws me off when he isn’t dressed in some kind of disguise or wild garment. Cornish also deserves mention as she took on the most unbecoming character, and “took one for the team” so to speak, setting up the dramatic climax.

While there will be no Teatro productions until May (as they’ve changed their season to begin in the spring), Lemoine has adapted The Addelpated Nixie for the Grant MacEwan Theatre Arts stage, which will run March 13 – 21, 2009.

Thrubwell’s Pies runs until October 11.

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