Life be­gins to un­but­ton in ‘Sexy Laun­dry’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - Len­nie MacPher­son, a Char­lot­te­town­based writer, ac­tor and mu­si­cian, writes theatre re­views for The Guardian dur­ing the sum­mer months. He wel­comes feed­back at mock­my­

Lots of shin­gles are be­ing milled around my favourite south shore vil­lage. New houses dot the out­skirts, while older build­ings are freshly fa­caded. At the cen­tre, the Vic­to­ria Com­mu­nity Hall (aka the Play­house) is now 100 years old and look­ing as sharp as ever. I must say the en­trance ad­di­tion, that was com­pleted a decade ago, is one of the best ex­am­ples of sym­pa­thetic her­itage ren­o­va­tions you'll find.

"Sexy Laun­dry" rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of history and the strug­gle with shar­ing one.

Here's a play that knows its tar­get au­di­ence. Though I don't have the small­pox in­oc­u­la­tion shoul­der badge of hon­our, I, too, may be clos­ing in on the headspace of that de­mo­graphic.

I can sense the precipice, when all the re­gret­ted dids and didn'ts shim­mer in your youth­ful wake. And you mow your lawn at a di­ag­o­nal to prove you still have a cre­ative spark.

It's well-trod ter­ri­tory, yes - mid­dle in­come, mid­dle class, mid­dle aged. As a thought piece, then, you might ex­pect this sim­ple story of a hus­band and wife try­ing to re-ig­nite their pas­sion to be, well, mid­dling. But cer­tain el­e­ments of Michelle Riml's script save it from be­com­ing dis­pos­able. There's a bit more bite, more keen ob­ser­va­tion and more per­sonal hon­esty than the set-up sug­gests.

Love's en­durance un­der­scores the thing, but love's neu­roses give it some punch.

I must con­cur with the play­house board chair that this sea­son in Vic­to­ria boasts an all-star ros­ter of ac­tors. The ev­ery-cou­ple in its first pro­duc­tion of the sum­mer has two faces most will surely rec­og­nize, though chances are less likely that you have seen them in their un­der­wear.

Rob Ma­cLean, as hubby Henry, ex­er­cises fine comedic chops. And not just the kind of "fine" you mut­ter when ev­ery­thing isn't "fine" and your part­ner re­sponds "fine." More like: re­fined or finely tuned. From sub­tle re­ac­tions to wide-eyed dis­com­fort, im­po­tent at­tempts at be­ing au­thor­i­ta­tive, whin­ing and squirm­ing and de­light­fully awk­ward danc­ing, he's a joy to watch on stage.

His beloved, Alice, is played by Martha Irv­ing. She has or­ga­nized this get­away for the two. Irv­ing's pres­ence is af­fa­ble and silly, yet with a be­liev­able timid­ity to ex­pos­ing Alice's inse­cu­ri­ties. A de­mure ex­te­rior clum­sily ex­plores her less do­mes­ti­cated fan­tasy-self.

Di­rec­tor Ted Price keeps the beats nat­u­ral, let­ting them just ex­ist in their fa­mil­iar­ity and, equally, in their sheep­ish­ness of chang­ing tack.

The show is a com­edy from stem to stern, though some sober­ing mo­ments can sting. When Henry hits one par­tic­u­lar break­ing point, the col­lec­tive gasp from the au­di­ence had the au­di­to­rium air-ex­change work­ing overtime.

Yet again, the in-house ham­mer swingers fit a lot of set into a lit­tle space, mak­ing a con­vinc­ing lux­ury ho­tel room. And I couldn't help but think how ho­tels don't wash the com­forters af­ter ev­ery guest.

Jaime Lee Mann will launch her Leg­end of Rhyme se­ries of nov­els on July 4 on the grounds of the Prince Ed­ward Is­land Pre­serve Com­pany, New Glas­gow at 11 p.m.

This event will in­clude a meet and greet with the au­thor, a read­ing from her best­selling "Leg­end of Rhyme" se­ries, draws and give­aways, and tasty treats.

The Pre­serve Com­pany it­self is also con­tribut­ing an ex­cit­ing prize to be won.

A lim­ited num­ber of copies of both nov­els in the Leg­end of Rhyme se­ries will be avail­able for pur­chase at the Pre­serve Com­pany through the sum­mer.

For more in­for­ma­tion on ths au­thor, go to

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