Mary’s Wedding

April 9, 2008 at 9:21 am | Posted in Review, Theater | Comments Off on Mary’s Wedding
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Echo Theatre“Theatre should show, not tell.”

I don’t know if anyone wise ever said that, but maybe they should have. There is a certain style of playwriting that, in my view, comes closer to storytelling than to theatre. And Mary’s Wedding by Stephen Massicotte, currently being staged by the Echo Theatre Company, is one of those plays. Which is not necessarily a criticism, if you like that sort of thing. The play depicts a dreamscape in which two young Canadians fall in love in the early days of the Great War (that’s World War I for the historically challenged). Both characters, Charlie the farm boy, portrayed by Ben Nordstrom, and Mary the well-bred immigrant from England, portrayed by Magan Wiles, describe most of the action verbally, creating more of a picture in your mind rather than before your eyes. The result is mixed, as there are times when you are starkly aware that you are being talked to by an actor, whereas at other times you are completely absorbed and entranced by the story.

Despite the limits of the style, Nordstrom and Wiles are absolutely two of the finest actors St. Louis has to offer, and they do marvelously with the script given them. They make full use of the beautifully minimalist set, as well as clever and evocative use of their bodies. The chemistry between Charlie and Mary is believable and palpable. Nordstrom and Wiles both succeed in endearing themselves to the audience with a mixture of humor, sadness and the awkward delightfulness of new love. I was particularly charmed, and convinced, by the delicate Wiles’ portrayal of the crusty old Sergeant.

Mary’s Wedding runs through April 20th at the Johnson Hall Theatre in the Third Baptist Church. Tickets can be purchased online, for more information call 314.225.4329.

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