JWR Articles: Live Event - The Best Brothers (Director: Dean Gabourie) - July 13, 2012
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The Best Brothers

4.5 4.5

Only the lonely

Daniel MacIvor’s wit, wisdom and wackiness are put to excellent use in his latest two-hander that explores the effect of a mother’s death on her two sons. The gifted playwright also takes the role of architect Hamilton Best while John Beale does the honours as his gay blade/shameless-realtor brother Kyle.

Lurking invisibly in the narrative weeds is their mom’s last paramour, Enzo (a four-legged trophy pooch who seems to be the most faithful member of the Best clan despite a voracious appetite for park dalliances with in-heat bitches and especial taste for upscale kitchen treatments).

Mom’s dutiful appearance at a gay pride parade (er, hello there Toronto Mayor Ford…) ends in a deadly tragedy when an overweight Filipino drag queen (named Piña Colada, no less) accidentally falls upon and crushes the petite Friend-of-Dorothy-by-blood with his/her excessive bulk. That incident ignites the bickering rivalry between the two grieving siblings: Would Mommie Dearest have left the planet so suddenly if Kyle had been on the straight—admittedly narrow—path of breeder bliss just like his Lego-loving bro?

Other unseen but pivotal characters are Hamilton’s vanishing bride, Jewels (think avarice not family) and Kyle’s sex-trade partner (“He’s been busy lately” drawing a huge laugh), Gordon of Jamaica.

With masterful balance of the riotous (the hijacked eulogy is a comedic gem), the sad (Mom’s inability to find anything but furry love) and the poignant (the last of Kyle’s three confessions), the show slips by (due in no small part to director Dean Gabourie’s ability to keep a relatively tight rein on the zany, inventive actors; kudos also for Itai Erdal’s imaginatively functional lighting) in a steady flow of what still remains the world’s most universal (and telling) adage: You can’t choose your relatives (and most especially the consequences that follow because of the shackles of heredity).

Then the bittersweet conclusion further reinforces the notion of how lonely so many souls are—even when surrounded (occasionally smothered) by family, friends and colleagues who don’t have wet noses. JWR

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Playwright - Daniel MacIvor
Director - Dean Gabourie
Composer - Jonathan Monro
Set Designer - Julie Fox
Lighting Designer - Itai Erdal
Costume Designer - Jessica Poirier-Chang
Sound Designer - Jesse Ash
Further information, future screening/performance/exhibition dates,
purchase information, production sponsors:
Stratford Festival
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