Sep 26

Vertigo Theatre’s ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ doesn’t quite add up

by Jenna Shummoogum · 3 comments

GRAHAM PERCY in Farewell, My Lovely 0917 NB1_8908-Edit

Vertigo Theatre is good at putting on those hard boiled detective plays. Where everything is in black and white and the private investigator is cynical and has a bit of a drinking problem. Farewell, My Lovely is one of those plays, a world premiere by playwright Aaron Bushkowsky. The play is an adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel.

Vertigo Theatre’s production is quite lovely, with a simple sliding pane set and projections that don’t interfere with the story. The play also has some strong performances. You just wish that the story made more sense.

When Chandler penned the novel, he recycled plots from previous stories and it shows up blatantly on stage. Characters lack motivation and plot lines don’t really connect. The audience leaves at intermission unclear as to what the actual crime is. The PI at the centre of the story, Philip Marlowe (Graham Percy) is hired by Moose Malloy (Beau Dixon) to find his girl Velma. In the course of looking for her, Marlowe works with Detective Nulty (Stephen Hair) and encounters many characters along the way, including Jessie Florian (Lucia Frangione), Marriot and Amthor (Anthony Ingram). Plus there is Annie Riordon (Emma Slipp) who seems to always be at the right place at the right time and the mysterious Helen Grayle (Jamie Konchak).

Percy is a strong actor and can carry the lead role but doesn’t quite embody Marlowe’s character. He isn’t quite cynical, even though he says he is. Percy has a little bit too much charm to come off as dark and self loathing. Frangione has quite a voice and does a good job as a supporting character. Everyone tries to settle into their roles, but plot lines don’t add up enough for the actors to really get the motivation of their characters.

Vertigo Theatre’s Farewell, My Lovely is a great detective play with strong performances if you willing to let go of continuity within the narrative.

Vertigo Theatre’s Farewell, My Lovely plays until October 19th. More information is available online.

Photo: Graham Percy
Credit: Benjamin Laird Arts & Photo

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