Stage Door Review 2019

The Ashes of Forgotten Rain

Jul 8, 2019

✭✭

written and directed by Norman Hussey

Missed Metaphor Productions, Toronto Fringe Festival, Robert Gill Theatre, Toronto

July 5-14, 2019

Norman Hussey’s backstage comedy The Ashes of Forgotten Rain would be much more engaging if it relied less heavily on the clichés of backstage dramas of stage and film.

We have the harried stage manager (Christine Cortes) and louche leading man (Cam Parkes) of a play like Noises Off. As in the film All About Eve, Hussey gives us the conflict between the older stage diva Gloria (Jennifer Fahy) and her younger rival Sadie (Laura Mannion), and he even includes an unscrupulous theatre critic (Katie Scharf) who conspires with actors for her review. 

Yet Hussey’s play has one unusually clever feature. When Sadie gives the critic a synopsis of the play they are performing, we realize that the structure of that play mimics the structure of the backstage comedy we are watching. The synopsis even predicts how the backstage play will end. 

If Hussey had crafted his characters and dialogue with the same originality he lends the play’s structure, he would give the play’s humour the boost of freshness it needs. As a director, if Hussey had found a cast with the same polished acting as Fahy, the whole production would shine more brightly.

Runtime: 60 minutes 

Christopher Hoile

Note: This review appeared in NOW Magazine on July 8, 2019.

Photo: Laura Mannion and Jennifer Fahy. © 2019 Norman Hussey.

For tickets, visit fringetoronto.com.