Crow’s Theatre/Canadian Stage presents Someone Else, an original play written by Kristen Thomson and directed by Chris Abraham. I was excited to see this production as Thomson and Abraham have been long time collaborators and created the wonderful and award winning, I, Claudia, that was later adapted into a film.
Someone Else looks at love in all its messy manifestations. Peter (Tom Rooney) and Cathy (Kristen Thomson) play a couple married for 18 years. Cathy is a stand up comic but is not finding a lot to laugh about in her real life while Peter is a doctor who begins to have an affair with a troubled teenaged patient (Bahia Watson).
There is a lot of meat in this play and I thought the writing was powerful and inventive. The characters were like a bunch of passing ships, continuously crashing into one another in one moment and veering off into unchartered waters in the next. The potential in the piece was endless but for me it did not entirely work.
Abraham needed to reign in the actors and have them explore the subtlety and depth of their characters. I have seen many of these performers in other shows so I appreciate the scope of their talent. In this production, I found some of the actors were either milking it for laughs or pushing emotionality.
I also didn’t see a strong enough relationship developed between Cathy and Peter. I didn’t believe this was a couple that had been married for nearly two decades. There wasn’t enough of a short hand or a familiarity established so it was hard to go on a journey with them.
The relationship between Peter and April was also a little hard to swallow. The situation is plausible enough, a doctor abuses his power with a young patient and crosses a line he should not, however, the fragility of April needed to be more fully exposed. April is a cutter and for someone to go to that, there has to be a deep well of pain and sorrow. Watson, although a fascinating actor to watch, needed to delve further into the layers of pain. I found she played it too lightly early on. Her final monologue was moving but I wanted to see that level of vulnerability sooner.
Two other characters make an appearance, Vanessa (Nina Taylor), the couple’s teenage daughter and David (Damien Atkins), a man who Peter is responsible for putting in a wheelchair. Vanessa was under-utilized and it would have been interesting to see more from her character. Atkins does well at playing a man who is handicapped and brain damaged, however he was quite hard to understand and I missed much of what he had to say. It is a fine line between playing a character realistically and still understandably communicating to the audience.
This cast is a fine group of actors and the script is well written but for me they needed to go much deeper with it. This was a family drama that was often played like a lighthearted comedy and for me that was the root of the problem.
Someone Else plays now through February 2 at The Berkeley Street Theatre. For tickets see: Canadian Stage
For more info on Crow’s Theatre please visit their website.