The Flick by Itsazoo Productions at Blue Bridge’s Roxy Theatre March 18-30, 2014. A review.

The Flick by Itsazoo Productions at Blue Bridge’s Roxy Theatre March 18-30, 2014. A review.

The Flick by Vancouver’s Itsazoo Productions—currently at Blue Bridge’s Roxy Theatre until March 30, 2014—is a powerful illustration of a generation stuck between adolescence and adulthood.

Sam (Chris Cochrane), Avery (Jesse Reid) and Rose (Kate Richard) work at a single screen movie house that is on the skids.  Their lives are filled with the tedium of chit-chat, repeated work routines and infrequent personal revelations—they are going through the motions at a time when life should be filled with hope, promise and endless possibilities.

Chris Cochran Kate Dion Richard and Jesse Reid2Rose (Kate Richard), Avery (Jesse Reid) and Sam (Chris Cochran). Photo: Ilijc Albanese

Playwright Annie Baker won an Obie award (2013) for The Flick—a play that has incited much discussion and strong feeling for its steadfast adherence to a slowly developing story line.

It’s a tale built on small disclosures and nuances, one that rewards theatre-goers for their attention.  Director Chelsea Haberlin has tightened the action and pacing from the original New York run while maintaining the naturalistic sense of the storyline.

Sound design (Chris Adams) is filled with reverential nods to great cinema and pop-culture classics and lighting design (Simon Farrow) faithfully produces the flicker and glow of the darkened movie house, alternating with harsh bursts when the lights go up.

The set (Kyle Sutherland) dominates the stage with a faithful re-creation of a movie theatre, thus adding an important layer of hyper-realism to the pathos of The Flick—the fact that the Roxy Theatre is playing itself—the action onstage a perfect mirror of the reality of this movie theatre-turned-performance-venue. Even with the realization this future was inevitable, and is indeed being played out in small theatres across North America, the audience is nonetheless left with twinges of guilt.

Jesse Reid as AveryAvery (Jesse Reid). Photo by Ilijc Albanese

The premise of young lives on-the-cusp is faintly reminiscent of movies like Clerks —Baker’s rendition is, despite comedic moments, much starker and grittier in its depiction of lives going nowhere.

Plagued by hesitancy, beset by private demons and doubt, trying to connect, and yet not knowing how to begin, Sam, Avery and Rose live their own private version of hell, day in and day out.

With poignant realism Sam, the veteran employee (Chris Cochrane) and Avery “the new guy” (Jesse Reid) sweep the popcorn-laden floor and try to find common ground—playing a version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” which Avery, with his encyclopaedic knowledge, excels at.

Rose (Kate Richard) is the queen of all she surveys—removed in the projection booth far above it all.  In one of the most awkward moments, she attempts to seduce Avery as they stay after work to watch a movie. Rose remains tight with her confidences, yet provides one of the most revelatory outbursts of the evening in a bravura performance by Richard.

Skylar (Rod Peter Jr) makes a brief appearance as the new “new guy”, and the cycle continues.

Congratulations to Itsazoo Productions on undertaking the challenge of bringing this generation’s cry to the stage, and giving life to this small universe with all its quirks.

Your heart goes out to the protagonists with a fervent wish life would get better, and the awful realization that it might not.

The Flick by Annie Baker
Itsazoo Productions at BlueBridge’s Roxy Theatre
March 18-30, 2014
Tickets $26.25-$42 through Ticket Rocket online, in person or by phone 250 590 6291
Ample free parking in QuadraVillage. Valet service available.
Cast and Creative Team

Sam     Chris Cochrane
Avery   Jesse Reid
Rose    Kate Richard
Skylar  Rod Peter Jr
Director   Chelsea Haberlin
Stage Manager Shelby Bushell
Assistant Stage Manager   Drew May
Set Design   Kyle Sutherland
Lighting Design Simon Farrow
Costume Design  Meredith Grantier
Sound Design   Chris Adams

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to attend The Flick, for the purpose of writing a review. As always, I retain full editorial control over the content published on my site.  

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