; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: The Dining Room

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The Dining Room

Currently playing at the PAL Studio Theatre is A.R. Gurney's The Dining Room, presented by Western Gold Theatre. This table-side play invites the audience to take a seat and witness an array of homages to one of the most important areas of a house, the dining room. For those who grew up with one, it can be a source of good or painful memories, as depicted in the multitude of vignettes that bleed into one another in this impressive production.

The actors get to flex all their acting muscles as they jump from character to character, whether it's a teenage girl from the 80s or a domestic servant polishing the silverware. The scenes are served like a 12-course meal, coming one after the other, overlapping and complementing with contrast and subtlety.

Stealing the scene for me had to have been Anna Hagan, who gives a heartbreaking performance in one of the Act One scenes as a mother suffering from Alzheimer's, and then coming back in comedic form in Act Two as the monosyllabic maid Bertha.

The set was beautifully done, reminding me of an early 1900s Frank Lloyd Wright house, with the audience perched on either side of the stage, making us feel like we were part of the dinnertime conversation. The show starts off with a group of visitors at a museum exploring an antique dining room display, but things actually begin in the lobby as the person who brings you up to the theatre in the elevator has a little name tag on that reads "Museum Staff." Little nuanced touches like that were a great addition to the show!  

This was an enjoyable evening at the theatre and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and engaging night out!

The Dining Room is on now at the Pal Studio Theatre until November 8th.

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