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Julie Stewart as the Blonde; photo: Chris Cornish
Julie Stewart as the Blonde; photo: Chris Cornish

Theatre Review: "The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead" in the Firehall at the 1000 Islands Playhouse.

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The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead is running in the Firehall at the 1000 Islands Playhouse through August 22. Resident theatre critic Connie Meng was at the opening night and has our review.

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Reported by

Connie Meng
Theatre Critic

Transcript:

THE BLONDE, THE BRUNETTE, AND THE VENGEFUL REDHEAD by Australian playwright Robert Hewett is a darkly humorous play with unexpected twists.  It's also a tour de force for the sole actress, in this production the excellent Julie Stewart.  Although the title implies that there are three characters, she actually plays seven.

The story centers on the question of why the redhead, a deserted wife, went berserk in a shopping mall.  Sounds simple?  Think again.  In Rashoman fashion we see the story from six other viewpoints.  As we follow each character, we keep revising our opinions of each of these tangled lives.  Many of their stories feature impenetrable egos and the irony of self-justification.

The set and costumes designed by Amy Keith are extremely creative.  Deceptively simple, the set features a single metal rectangular table and a rolling chair.  The back wall has two doors with a center rectangular panel of scrim used for projections and also as a window through which we can watch the lightning fast character and costume changes.

Miss Keith's costumes and wigs clearly define each character and the changes go like clock-work.  I liked the small touches, such as the brunette's red satin purse.  Speaking of small touches, each scene is cleverly defined by a small prop that flies in onto the table.

Andrea Lundy has lit the play with care and subtlety.  I assume she's also responsible for the interesting projections, along with Miss Keith.

Julie Stewart is an actress of remarkable vocal and physical range, not to mention emotional.  All the characters are three-dimensional, from the surprising Lynette to the even more surprising Graham.  The subtle changes in red-headed Rhonda from the opening scene to the final one are consistent and moving.

Director Sarah Garton Stanley has, with Miss Stewart, found all the nuances of this complex play.  On a staging note, she's handled the changes in an interesting way, especially the curtain call.

This is a fascinating and engrossing evening of theatre.  It's a play full of both grief and humor brought to life by an accomplished actress and a first-rate creative team.

On a scale of one to five the Firehall production of THE BLONDE, THE BRUNETTE, AND THE VENGEFUL REDHEAD at the 1000 Islands Playhouse gets five dalmations and a puppy.  For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.

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