I leapt at the chance to see The Templeton Philharmonic’s SummerWorks show, An Evening In July, a site-specific show about two eccentric sisters planning a garden party. I had to! Y’see, I fell head over heals in love with them back in March at the Sketch Comedy Festival. Brianna Templeton and Gwynne Phillips are masters of finding the poignant truth lurking beneath outlandish behaviour.
I walked into the garden at St. George the Martyr Anglican Church and took in the various disparate objects strewn about, along with my fellow audience members. I flipped through old magazines, stared lovingly at a rotary telephone, and had a glass of wine as I awaited the arrival of our hostesses for the evening—the sisters, May and June.
It’s the 1970s and we’re all guests at a party. A party where “nobody knows what time it is, nor cares to find out.”
There’s some great worldbuilding here as we interact with our fellow party guests and the environment. There are games. There are stories. It’s so fun and quirky that you don’t even realize you’ve been drawn into a dark character study.
This piece is drenched in the hot, wildly passionate and subtly sinister Southern Gothic tradition. These ladies are very funny and there is a giddy charm to evening as they try to keep up appearances, but the cracks in the façade appear soon enough and the tension mounts.
Underneath the goofy antics, there is story of loss and disappointment. Life doesn’t always work out the way we’d like; it can often be devastating, and watching how people deal with that can be both tragic and amusing.
Templeton and Phillips have crafted an exceptionally detailed, intimate and hard to define theatrical experience. I highly recommend An Evening in July to anyone who can handle that broken fourth wall.
Come, laugh with May and June, and listen to their sad tale.
An Evening In July plays at St. George the Martyr Anglican Church (197 John Street)
- Friday August 7th 8:00 PM
- Saturday August 8th 4:00 PM
- Saturday August 8th 7:00 PM
- Sunday August 9th 8:00 PM
- Wednesday August 12th 8:00 PM
- Thursday August 13th 8:00 PM
- Friday August 14th 8:00 PM
- Saturday August 15th 4:00 PM
- Saturday August 15th 7:00 PM
- Sunday August 16th 8:00 PM
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series tickets are free – $20. Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 4-16 from 10am-7pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
Photo of Briana Templeton and Gwynne Phillips provided by the company