Life begins to unbutton in ‘Sexy Laundry’
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 www.JaimeLeeMann.co