Damages (Toronto Fringe 2008 Review)

Review by Megan Mooney

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Review of Damages(Note:  This is a longer version of my write-up on blogTO. The blogTO write ups include write-ups from multiple reviewers on multiple shows, check them out!)

I think this is a good play, but not executed as well as it could be. The two main actors in the show are veteran actors, I would put money on most people recognizing them. But there was something missing.

They didn’t feel like they were in the characters, several times it felt like they were prompting each other on their lines, it just kind of felt a bit amateurish – which is certainly not what you expect from veteran performers. Don’t get me wrong, it they weren’t *bad*, it just felt a bit like they phoned in their performance.

Luckily the story itself is quite engaging. I suspect that people would be tempted to say it’s a play about the holocaust, but it didn’t feel that way for me. It didn’t even feel like a play about the aftermath of the holocaust, it really just felt like a play about the human condition, the way we can we can hurt someone so much without even knowing we’re doing it.

Don’t worry if you aren’t well versed in Judaism, everything that pertains to Judaism in the show is explained. The only thing that isn’t is that the Talmud is a holy text, which I suspect most people already know, and, well, if you didn’t, you do now.

I’m going to assume (hope?) that the performances get better as the show goes on, this was after all, the first show with an audience. I’m hoping that because I really do think this is a show worth seeing. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s interesting and engaging, which, frankly, is most of what I look for in a show, they don’t all have to blow me away.

Oh, and prepare yourself for a surreal moment – one of the actors, Harvey Atkin, is also the voice of Leon’s commercials, which isn’t *so* noticeable, until he’s talking from offstage, at which point you suddenly feel like you’re watching the most surreal Leon’s commercial ever…

Damages is playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre July 6, 8, 9, 10, 12. For more info see the Toronto Fringe website.

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