Review: The Innocents (Tango Co.)

The Innocents is playing at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre

In the end, it’s usually all about sex.  Maybe.  I think.

The Innocents, a play written by Daniel Karasik, is currently playing in its latest version at Tarragon Theatre.  Karasik himself is backed by a stellar cast, but the production itself left me somewhat bewildered.

The Innocents is the story of Aaron, a twenty-something rich kid from the suburbs, who is being represented by a wunderkind lawyer called Stanley after confessing to murdering an old woman in a botched robbery.  The plot becomes a psychological profile of the two men and their overlapping love interests as the murder investigation unfolds.

I last saw The Innocents when it played at the Summerworks festival in 2010 and I was interested to see what it had evolved into over the course of the last couple of years.  It continues to play in Germany to sold-out houses, but this marks the production’s return to Canada.
Okay.  Here’s what I liked about it: I have seen Amelia Sargisson and Virgilia Griffith perform before and to say that they both have whatever ‘it’ is that makes an actor captivating and luminescent onstage would be an incredible understatement.  They squeezed every interesting nuance out of their characters and contrasted each other beautifully.  Their scenes provided most of the successful darkly comical and moving moments in the script.

Unfortunately, I can praise little more than that in this production.  While the rapid-fire dialogue is well-navigated with the help of director Jordan Tannahill, a lot of the movement and silences seem aimless and unmotivated.  And while I appreciated the statement made by the fluorescent lights mounted in the corners of the stark white set, their flickering had a nauseating effect that I found unsettling.  But maybe that was the point.

In the end, I’m not certain what point the script was trying to make.  A comment on the tedium of privilege?  Our unfulfilled youth?  Some great performances and funny moments, yet I still left feeling, like the characters in the script, unfulfilled.

The Innocents is playing at Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Ave) until May 13, 2012
-Shows run Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
-Ticket prices range from $17 – $22
-Tickets are available online, or by calling 416.531.1827

Photo of Nathan Barrett, Daniel Karasik, Amelia Sargisson, and Virgilia Griffith by Jordan Tannahill