Dark Owl at the MainLine

Photo credit: Jaclyn Turner

Tableau d’Hote Theatre brings a tale of broken-down family, beautifully told in English and Acadian “chiac”

theatre review by Rébecca Phaneuf-Thibault

This 70’s dysfunctional household in an isolated fishing village in NewBrunswick is the focus of the play.

We step into the lives of Victorine (Liz Burns), the neurotic  mother of four with a short fuse and a tendency for yelling; Utrope (Gilles Plouffe), the absent father who finds peace in his cabin in the woods; Flora (Holly Gauthier-Frankel), the eldest who got stuck with more responsibility by default, but still takes part in childish bickering with her younger siblings; Delcia (Léa Rondot), the most malicious of the four kids, truly the trouble making instigator; Nicolas (Dan Jeannotte) the intellectual of the family, who was unfortunately kicked out of university for his homosexuality; and finally Amandine (Catherine Lemieux) air-headed, but hilarious voluptuous youngest.

The first half is focused on the kids and their bickering, narrated by the father, giving a different insight on their childish activities. The interruption by the furious Victorine at a few instances shows just how much the family is divided, Victorine is isolated, so is Utrope. Flora doesn’t get along with the rest her siblings. Due to her extra responsibilities around the house, Flora, with Delcia will pick on Nicolas and Amandine, who are constantly being pushed and shoved around.

The second half starts off by letting us into Victorine’s point of view, followed by Nicolas’s. We can feel the climax approaching as the mood switches from humouristic to serious. The tension rises with every scene and the more or less subtle foreshadowing of the beginning concerning a certain “Dark Owl” took more and more meaning until a tragedy erupts in the village and turns out to be the trigger that unravels  the family’s squeletons, not-so-well-hidden in the closet.

A delight for the ears and the eyes, the clever bilingual performance was marvelously executed by the totality of the cast and the challenge that presented the script was brilliantly overcome. The multi-perspective views of this dysfunctional family through all the character’s eyes was what appeared to have the play one not to miss.

Dark Owl, put on by Tableau d’Hote Theatre, is runs until Nov. 28 at MainLine Theatre, 3997 Saint-Laurent. General admission is $23.00 plus tax and $17.00 for students and seniors.

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