Director: Sandhano Schultze
Cast: Brenda Crichlow, Marek Czuma, Beata van Berkom, Ian Morton, Boyd Norman, Jennifer Griffin, Barbara E. Russell, Rosie Frier-Dryden et al
Set design: Susan Madsen
Lighting design: Del Surjik
*PI fact - This was Del’s first show with Pink Ink
Jessie Award Nomination: Outstanding Lighting Design, Del Surjik
a review from our archives…
DAZZLING DOINGS IN A SEEDY LONDON CLUB
Love on the Plastic
Written by Julia Schofield
Directed by Sandhano Schultze
Starring members of the Vancouver Little Theatre/Pink Ink Productions
Cheap cut satin and bad perfume, showtime is almost here, Teased up by a strip cartoon, laughing up your sleeve, sniggering in your beer, He’s seen the bottom of a lot of glasses, but he’d never seen love so near. He’d seen love get so expensive, but he’d never seen love so dear.
–Elvis Costello’s King Horse
By LIAM LACEY
The Globe and Mail
The Elvis Costello song quoted above is about a certain kind of British nightclub, the kind shown in Stephen Frears’ film of the Profumo affair, Scandal; the kind of club where the editors of The Sunday Times and The Observer met a common girl friend. It’s the kind of club depicted in Julia Schofield’s play Love on the Plastic (as in credit cards), based on her experiences as a receptionist in a nightclub that specialized in, as she has written, “rotting livers and selling sex at inflated prices.”
The play opened in London in 1987 and was a critical and commercial hit. It had its Canadian debut at the Vancouver Little Theatre/Pink Ink Productions recently, and appears to be a hit once again.
The production is one of the most dazzling shows of the Vancouver theatre season….
The theatre space where Schultze’s company works – a dingy little basement in a community hall – has been transformed into a nightclub by means of plaster figurines, velvet-een chairs, a cabaret stage and a bar. A dewy young woman with crimson lipstick and a mane of ringlets, dressed in a black-and-green outfit that reveals strategic expanses of skin, ushers you to the coat-check girl and then to your seat.
Waitresses in identical outfits invite you to peruse the menu, where, besides the usual coffee, soft drinks and beer, there is a champagne list that starts at about £100 a bottle and goes up. As the play begins, it becomes clear that both the hostess and the coat-check girl are actors, and the audience, in a sense, are the stooges.
But the real excuse for the play – a la Chorus Line – is an opportunity for each the characters to describe, in a vignette or a monologue, how their personal lives intersect with their working lives. In each one, the actor involved pulls out all stops. There’s Dapper (Boyd Norman), the door-man, a retired cabbie who spends his Sundays on a dialysis machine; Gri-selda (Jennifer Griffin), the club’s high-camp strip act, who used to be a man; Flora (Barbara E. Russell), the Irish woman supporting her son through school and doing outside tricks and porn movies in her spare time; Dottie (Rosie Frier-Dryden), the boozy old vulgarian with her fantasies of a “classy” establishment that could serve not only as a call-girl service, but a travel agency as well.
It is one of those rare shows that seem to have hit a groove; every performance clicks, and it would be impossible to mention one exceptional performance without mentioning five others, which is a testament to the sensitivity in both the casting and directing.
It’s also a testament to the fact that, given the right vehicle, the acting pool runs deeper in Vancouver than is often the impression from the mainstream theatres.
Photo credit: Stephen Mitchell