Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Teatro la Quindicina: “The Ambassador’s Wives”

The Ambassador’s Wives, Stewart Lemonine’s newest play that just wrapped up its run at the Varscona Theatre, is one of the best Teatro la Quindicina productions I’ve seen in a while. Unlike some reviewers, I’m not smitten with every Lemoine piece – there are some that ring truer, or happen to entertain me more than others.

The Ambassador’s Wives fell in the latter category, a super-charged ride through a farcical murder mystery:

“When the Monte Carlo embassy of the tiny yet volatile Balkan nation of Panonia is besieged by treacherous beauties as a result of a diplomat’s abundant political and romantic indiscretions, lethal consequences are simply inevitable.”

What was most refreshing about this production was the balance between Teatro favourites and newcomers to the Teatro team. Though I adore Davina Stewart and Jeff Haslam (Haslam played his typical sassy, impervious character, and Teatro regular Julien Arnold was outstanding as the infallible embassy attaché), it was nice to see the change of dynamics brought about by recent graduates Jenny McKillop, Kristi Hansen and Vincent Forcier. Hansen and Forcier were especially impressive – Hansen, as the effervescent aviator/Countess of Lichtenstein, had great comic timing, and Forcier, as the playboy to wealthy older women, seamlessly shifted from starry-eyed puppy dog to tactful investigator.

I think it also helped that the theatre was absolutely buzzing. The Ambassador’s Wives was the first Lemoine show I’ve attended outside of the Fringe that has sold out – the tone of the play can definitely be influenced – good or bad – by an audience’s response, or lack thereof.

In all, it was a good night – lots of laughter, fresh licorice, and the chance to see some young performers shine. You can catch Teatro at the Fringe Festival August 13-28 with another new Lemoine work titled Witness to a Conga. Should be fun!

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  • Annie

    Wow, Sharon. I must have read your articles about all the plays 4 times and this one in concern even more…I really don’t get why a positive review got such nasty comments. I am sorry at how the person in question handled himself.

    The key issue that resonated with me is the way Jeff Haslam chose to handle the situation with zero professionalism. To be professional, to me at least, is to be hardworking…to love what you do and try to achieve better. But a true professional also ensures that he/she is doing things that will protect his/her designated profession’s public image. Whether there is a written code of conduct for actors or not is besides the point – people of the same profession ultimately should stick together and protect one another…writing such comments on a public forum and not clearly explaining the reasons behind the comments is simply not the way to go.

    He’s certainly entitled to his opinion but the way he did it was quite selfish. He has shown no regard to what possible negative impacts he may make on his company. I have no doubt that his fellow artists are very dedicated and passionate about their work like he says; nevertheless, he has proven to be the worse person possible to represent them in any way no matter if he intended to speak on their behalf or not at the time.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I believe the first thing we are taught in any writing class is that a writer should consider his audience? I am sure Mr. Haslam is a talented man and could have used much more suitable words when addressing a patron of his shows and the wider community even if he was in disagreement with her comments. Hence, I can only derive that the words he DID choose to write was meant to personally insult you and the readers of this blog. And in doing so, he has directly insulted himself and his profession. How unfortunate. I do hope that his fellow actors do not have to receive any negative brunts due to his iressponsibility.

    Most importantly, I am very happy that you are continuing to do what you are doing. Your love of the city is infectious…in fact, you are the one that has encouraged a couch potato (me) to explore the city more…and to convince me to go to a Fringe play or two. Please continue to do what you do and thanks for the great contributions so far. We can’t wait to read about your new adventures! :)

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