With LoveHateKill, Pony Theatre offers a supersmart medley of shorts from six Canadian playwrights united around the theme of passion that drives violence. The set is woefully cheap, but the production, dazzling. Shannon Blanchet is fabulously precise in her rendering of the wife in Stewart Lemoine’s ‘Bad Egg’ and then gets to show the extent of her dramatic range in Trina Davies’ ‘Love Story,’ a monologue-ripped-from-the-headlines in which an American woman tells the story of how she falls in love with a prison inmate charged with serial sex-killings — and does her best to kill for him.
Clarice Eckford has a brilliant turn too as the conservative wife who leads sex games and a match of Russian Roulette in Kirsten Rasmussen and Amy Shostak’s ‘Social Sundays.’ (Boy, does Eckford seem to have fun prancing about in her ivory lingerie and delicate-frame glasses!) Clinton Carew, good in the minor roles he takes on, gets his moment to shine (quietly) as the writer of the final piece, ‘Splatter,’ a mock ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ / ‘Scream’ segment in which the characters are liberated from their Hollywood schlock scripts. And Ryan Parker‘s comic handling of the final scene of Ryan Hughes’s ‘Devotional,’ in which a brother reports in to his sister about his recovery from the dark devotion to the girlfriend who has left him, is crucial to the overall mood of the medley, which charts a zigzagging course between dramatically dark material and farce. ‘It’s good to have a project,’ the character notes, ‘but it has to be the right project.’
Serious kudos to this company for putting together, for Canada’s largest Fringe festival, a theatrical cocktail, both intelligent and entertaining, that simultaneously showcases contemporary Canadian writing for the stage along with the performers’ actorly talents. See this show as late in the day as possible (it’ll be hard for any other show to top it), and see it as early in the Fringe as you can, so that once you’ve seen how good it is for yourself you can round up friends to go back for a second viewing.