on the edge at the Belfry Theatre – Review

I was first introduced to Michele Riml’s work on the edge at the Belfry Theatre’s Spark Festival during a reading of the “Yoga Studio” episode. The audience laughed appreciably at the character’s antics, relating to the reality of being that time-starved parent, searching for inner peace amid the pressing nature of familial duties.

on the edge had its world première last week.

on the edge looks at the lives of three women in today’s complicated world, each very different from the others and each caught in a labyrinth created by society’s expectations and their own personal challenges.

Riml’s previous plays – Sexy Laundry and Rage – were produced here in 2003 and 2009 respectively. Actor Susinn McFarlen is familiar to Belfry audiences for her roles in Mom’s the Word, Sexy Laundry and A Perfect Ganesh.

on the edge 0024Susinn McFarlen in on the edge by Michele Riml / Photos by Emily Cooper.  Used with permission.

The stark set transforms as the stories unfold – a meeting room, police station office and yoga studio are created by the movement of large panels across the stage. Simple without being so, it allows us to concentrate our attention on the three very different women we are about to meet.

A fashion addict, police officer and frantic mom – what characteristics do they share, and more importantly, what can they teach us? Beyond the laughs at their expense – after all, who wouldn’t laugh at the idea of too many clothes purchases, or never being able to turn a cell phone off – what is the deeper truth of their lives? How do they cope with self-realization, and what do they do with it? How can I, as another modern woman, take their lessons and apply them to my life?

McFarlen skillfully and masterfully inhabits these portraits – appetizer-sized snippets one hopes will be further developed as the play grows. Light hearted laughter, and self-depecrating humour take darker turns as Simone, Jess and Marilyn struggle with their inner demons and decisions. There are no major epiphanies or tidy story arcs, only slow awakenings to the realities of their complex situations.

I left the theatre with many questions – I want to delve deeper, know and see more, as these women move beyond being “on the edge”. Will they make the choices to return to stable ground, or leap off into thin air?

The Belfry Theatre is to be commended for commissioning on the edge and for their leadership in bringing new work to the stage.

Creative Team
Playwright Michele Riml
Starring Susinn McFarlen
Director Andrew McIlroy
Set Designer Kevin McAllister
Costume Designer Erin Macklem
Lighting Designer Bryan Kenney
Sound Designer Noah Drew
Stage Manager Kim Charleen Smith

Ticket Information

Tickets for on the edge are $23 to $38 (plus HST). Tickets for High School Students are 50% off and 25% off for University & College Students. Tickets are available at 250-385-6815 or online at https://tickets.belfry.bc.ca.

Performance Schedule (January 24 – February 26, 2012)
Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinees at 1 pm February 1st & 8th
Thursday Student Matinee at 1 pm February 16 th
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm

on the edge is generously supported by Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse, The Magnolia Hotel & Spa and KOOL FM.

The Belfry’s Season Sponsors are Thrifty Foods, Times Colonist, Cook’s Day Off, Inn at Laurel Point, CHEK News, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of BC, BC Arts Council, CRD Arts Development.


Disclaimer:  I was offered complimentary tickets to attend opening night. I was not paid to write a review nor was I required to do so. As always, I retain editorial control over all the content published on this blog.

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.

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