By Adelina Fabiano
Funny, frank and freeing, Featuring Loretta makes for a fun filled evening at Factory Theatre
I have always been a fan of George F. Walker . His characters, deeply troubled, and deeply frustrated, somehow speak to all of us. In Factory Theatre’s Featuring Loretta, Walker once again introduces us to a woman struggling to find freedom and security in the midst of mayhem.
The play is set in a seedy Vegas motel room with mirrors and a large window where many comedic moments take place. The story opens with Loretta lying on the bed, talking on the phone about her next potential job prospect. As a widowed waitress, pregnant, broke and lost, Loretta is desperately seeking a way out.
The two actors playing David (Brandon McGibbon), the nerdy neurotic salesman, and Michael (Kevin Hanchard), the charming aspiring porn star filmmaker, both do admirable jobs as supporting characters. As Loretta’s relentless suitors, they compete inexhaustibly to persuade her to do what they want, each hoping to use her to advance their careers. Both actors have excellent comedic timing and uniquely developed characters.
Sophie, the former Russian physicist, now working as a cleaner in her father’s motel, was a standout! Every moment she appeared on stage was a breath of fresh air. Her sense of comedy, subtle gestures and idiosyncrasies got a laugh each time she uttered a word.
I appreciated the overall direction and vision of the piece. The actors moved quite freely across the stage, particularly during the brawls between Michael and David. They were simply hilarious!
The lighting and sound were well executed. A large lit screen hung over the top of the stage, often playing out recorded action between characters outside of Loretta’s room. It was a clever and humorous touch by the director ( Ken Gass) and sound designer (Jeremy Mimnagh).
The costumes were realistic, detailed (right down to the underwear), quirky and reflective of each character’s personality and zaniness. Sophie’s brightly colored and mismatched get-up couldn’t have been more appropriate.
My guests had a lovely experience in this intimate theatre setting. They laughed out loud and were most impressed by Michael’s characterization and naïveté. Although the show’s momentum dropped at certain points in the show, they enjoyed the overall production.
In spite of some of the issues the play explored (women and relationships, sexual exploitation, delusion and truth, freedom and control), the cast brought these characters and their predicaments to life in a light-hearted way. It was a fun-filled evening of comedy, indeed.
Performances run in the Mainspace Theatre area on Tuesdays-Saturday, at 8pm, and on Sunday, at 2pm.
-To buy tickets, go to www.factorytheatre.ca, call (416) 504-9971, or visit the box office in person at 125 Bathurst Street ( at Adelaide) Tuesday-Saturday, 1-7p.m., and Sunday, 1-2p.m.
Photograph of Monica Dottor and Lesley Faulkner by Ed Grass Donnelly