May and I met up on a chilly Tuesday to watch Without You at the Timms Centre, the latest Studio Theatre production. From the website:
“Without You is a witty and charming, contemporary search for The One – a search we all can recognize. Gabriella and Scott are in love…they’re pretty sure anyway. She’s a musician pursuing a dream; he’s an academic in pursuit of a career. The wedding is in six months. Somewhere between chicken or beef, colour schemes and groomsmen, Scott develops a secret and Gabby makes plans to leave. While he is holding on with everything he has, she is letting go.”
This play hinges on two things – the audience’s belief in “The One” (or True Love), and the likability of the characters (tied closely with how well the audience can relate to them). For the most part, I didn’t buy the True Love premise of Gabriella’s ball-rolling psychic reading, and worse, I couldn’t stand Gabriella’s character. Throughout most of the play, I found myself rooting against her, and wondering why Scott stayed with her at all – for someone as fiery as she was supposed to be, she lacked a core sense of self (which, I suppose is what the second half dealt with).
Due to the frustration I felt on Scott’s behalf, my favourite part of the play was the climactic, relationship-ending fight. It was satisfying, and in my eyes, something Gabriella entirely deserved. Both actors (Samantha Duff and Matthew McKinney) held their own in that scene, and Duff even redeemed herself from some more uneven work earlier in the production. I will also give Duff credit for a solo acoustic performance where it seemed she was pushing her artistic boundaries.
Though I was expecting more from the script, playwright Nicole Moeller did do a great job utilizing her supporting characters for comedic relief. So much so that chameleons Blythe Haynes and Vincent Forcier stole the show.
I also loved the simple set – I’m a sucker for versatile/multi-function ottomans – but the window-panelled centrepiece, which extended the horizontal length of the stage, was a beautiful, visual reminder of the limitlessness of young life.
Without You runs until December 6.