at Deaf West Theatre
Canadian playwright Claudia Dey's delightfully imaginative dark comedy about twin sisters living in a small town in northern British Columbia is wonderfully performed by a fine trio of actors under the direction of Kerrie Keane. The Ducharme sisters, Sugar (Jessica Wright) and Grace (Krista Lewis), are living a tranquilly dysfunctional life in a remote backwater town. Grace collects garbage for a living and moonlights as the billboard pinup girl for a local gun shop, while Sugar hasn't been out of the house for 10 years, since the death of their parents, whom the sisters affectionately refer to as the Holies.
One fateful day, while Grace is off hauling garbage, a mysterious stranger arrives at their house, hungry and dressed in a ragged cop's uniform. This is Trout Stanley (Danny Junod), who is on a pilgrimage of sorts: "going north" to the lake where his parents drowned a few years ago. Trout and Sugar are immediately smitten with one another, which threatens to shatter the fragile emotional balance between the very different twin sisters.
Dey's play is a banquet of brilliant language, with soaring, stylized metaphors zinging off the stage like lightning strikes. Even more astounding is Dey's skill in marrying the poetic language with the complexity of her characters and story. The result is a hilarious tsunami of terrific dialogue and images that are vivid and often metaphysically evocative.
The text is challenging, and the White Buffalo Theatre Company actors are more than up to the task. Wright is poignant and comedic in her vivid portrayal of the psychically wounded sister, whose only companion is a set of porcelain figurines. Junod gives a dynamic, nuanced performance as a kind of Don Quixote of the north, searching for truth in the Canadian woods. And Lewis is terrific as the sister who wears the pants in the family—or in this case the skintight camouflage outfit. Director Keane does an outstanding job, attending to the challenging tone of the script while skillfully guiding the actors to peak performances.
Presented by White Buffalo Theatre Company at the Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 3 p.m. Apr. 11-May 11. (818) 325-2024.
Reviewed by Hoyt Hilsman