Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
The Beverly Block
The five fictional apartment-dwellers in this fact-based drama, set on a real Winnipeg street, are so believable, I left the theatre more depressed than anything else.
Ed (Josh Penner), the foster-home veteran and deadbeat dad whose dingy pad we’re parked in for 75 minutes, bides his time between welfare cheques playing video games, kibbitzing with his sponging, ex-con neighbour (Jeff Wahl) and waiting for his girlfriend Emma (Claire Friesen) to get off work.
His vulgar bar-bouncer buddy Ivan (Rob Brown) breaks up the tedium by crashing in the dining room, along with his hooker-chauffeur girlfriend Cindy (Merry Lang) — whom he took up with after ditching his wife and kids — and her noisy dog. Emma, who comes from the so-called right side of the tracks, is the most beaten-down of the bunch — and the only one with any evident self-awareness.
The cast of this fluid production, written and directed by Eileen Longfield, has great chemistry. But it needs a dramatic arc to get the viewer invested. There was a hint of one, but it never went anywhere — just like the lives of its characters.
“She doesn’t belong here,” Ed says of Emma. No one does. That’s why, even with the attempts at comic relief, it’s so damn depressing.
— Carolin Vesely
From the official Fringe Festival program:
It’s Winnipeg, it’s winter, and these young adults ain’t got no place to go but their friend Ed’s apartment. Why don’t you crash there a while and see what life was like for 18-year-olds who were bumped from foster care to the welfare system in 1997.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and in the end you’ll wonder “F**k, why?” Don’t bother to knock, cause the Beverly Block’s going to rock!
From the veteran Fringe company that brought you Blade, Montana and So Far from Eden.
Warnings: Subject Matter, Language, Herbal Cigarettes,
RECOMMENDED: Mature Audience
Venue#1 MTC Backstage at the Mainstage 174 Market Ave (Entrance on John Hirsch Pl)
Discount Tickets: $6 for Matinees
Under 15 not admitted.
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