Review: The Unseen Hand – Theatre Brouhaha, The Playwright Project

ImageI had the pleasure of seeing Theatre Brouhaha’s “The Unseen Hand” last night at the Magic Oven.The show was directed by Kat Sandler and starred Scott Clarkson as Blue Morphan, Rick Jon Egan as Cisco Morphan, Tom Darcy McGee as Sicamore Morphan, G. Kyle Shields as the Kid, Kevin Ritchie as Willie, and Alexis Budd on guitar. The play was a part of the Playwright Project, this year focused on works by Sam Shephard.

I’ve gotta say, I’m usually a pretty harsh critic, but I’d give this piece a 8/10. While it was a little slow to get going, all the actors had great chemistry, amazing energy, and near perfect comedic timing. The costumes were well thought out (something I tend to be extra critical of as I do costuming myself), and the set was great considering the space restrictions and the changing venues.

Sandler did a good job of working with a very small space and a technically limited venue. While the actors were practically in the audience’s lap, there were very few points when it was difficult to see (some of the moments with actors lying on the ground were missed by those of us sitting further back, but such is the nature of theatre in found spaces). The movement was stylized, posed, and very well suited to Shepard’s bizarre script.

Kudos goes to Kevin Ritchie for what looked like an absolutely exhausting performance: his raving speech early in the piece was especially impressive (though disturbing!).

All the actors had great comedic moments, but what punctuated the humour best was the musical score provided by Alexis Budd. Perfectly timed strummed chords and great Western tunes helped to define a show that had to work within a lot of restraints. The very catchy mashup of Rawhide & Ghost Riders In The Sky that they used for their curtain call was especially fun.

I won’t spoil what was the most bizarre and visually interesting point in the play, but I will say, I loved the ping pong balls 🙂
The Unseen Hand is playing until Tuesday May 7th at various locations across Toronto. For more info, check out this.