Who doesn’t like a good dark comedy?
Especially when the delivery is so well-executed in such a spartan manner.
With a set featuring only three chairs for three actors, along with a script with more bite than Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, Theatre Project Manitoba’s production (as directed by Ardith Boxall) of Nicolas Billion’s Iceland is rave-worthy theatre performed in an intimate setting.
Iceland certainly does not move at a glacial pace, but rather like a blizzard where the audience laughed and were taken back in equal measure throughout what was a brisk 70-minute performance (with no intermission).
The plot centres (or should that be triangulates(?) given the positioning of the three chairs on stage and the points of the actors) around Kassandra (Laura Olafson), Halim (Omar Alex Khan) and Anna (Heather Russell) and how their lives have come into contact in an apartment.
Without giving too much away (as the reveal of the interconnectivity of the characters was half the fun) Kassandra is an Estonian student-come call girl, Halim is a real estate guy who is a massive proponent of capitalism (and money clips!), and Anna is a God-fearing Christian.
All three are brought to life with gusto by Olafson, Khan, and Russell as each actor brings to fore the manic qualities that people display when pushed, while Billion’s script confronts issues of race, religion and sex in very blunt fashion.
Khan as Halim in particular has some verbose bits where he literally dares you as the audience to laugh (don’t bring the kids, there are some big F-bombs and sex jokes); Olafson is fantastic at going off on tangents while maintain what surely must be a difficult Estonian accent; while Russell plays the mousey role of Anna with verve.
For me and the Missus, Iceland was hugely enjoyable, and just another example of what a great thing they have going at Theatre Projects Manitoba. The Rachel Browne Theatre itself is such an intimate venue, where every seat is excellent, plus tickets are only $25.
For you theatre fans who relish more than a little dark humour, Iceland surely should be your next destination.
Iceland runs until November 15 at The Rachel Browne Theatre, 211 Bannatyne Ave (at Main St.) For tickets and a full list of showtimes click here.
The lede image is also by Leif Norman