Playgoers discover that masks aren’t always physical coverings placed on a face in Michel Tremblay’s achingly beautiful ‘Hosanna’ on stage at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts.  Damien Atkins (back) and Jason Cadiuex (front) savour the calm after the storm.


Why is it that highly anticipated events always seem to fall short of expectations?

And when the clock reads 3:30 a.m. on Halloween in Montreal’s downtown core, it’s hard to imagine disappointment running any deeper that it can for a dolled up Claude (Damien Atkins) with wayward lover Raymond (Jason Cadieux) following close behind from a disastrous costume party.

“I knew it. I knew it.  I never should have gone in there,” laments Claude as he begins to disrobe from his home made Elizabeth Taylor inspired Cleopatra outfit.

On the surface, these appear to be highly unlikely bedfellows. One is a hairdresser by day, woman by night. The other a ‘worn out motorcycle freak’ who may be able to find the words ‘I love you’ if only tries. The perfumed drenched bachelor pad above a pharmacy with an endlessly blinking sign outside the window suggests this is far from the sunny side of the street for either souls.

Percolating beneath, however, is a marvelously stirring ‘great love story’ of sorts dressed in an emotionally charged drama. A 4-year tempestuous relationship is reaching a tipping point within the baggage burdened union and playwright Michel Trembley, who favours lengthy but impactful dialogue over rising action, cleverly provides a poignant backstory to bring forward a context that entangles his leads.

Not much happens in this discovery piece, not much needs to.

Director Gregory Prest should run into heaps of trouble conveying an airless story like this but lifeline actors Damian Atkins and Jason Cadieux score total street credibility for genuine spat exchanges leaving little doubt about their dissatisfaction with one another let alone their situation.

Hosanna comments on changing times and changing people but speaks much more to identity that defines who we are.  While it’s braided with comedic tension and other soft landing discourses, don’t expect a big red bow in the final scene. The real world just doesn’t work like that.


HOSANNA by Michel Tremblay, translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco  September 23 – October 15, 2016 YOUNG CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 50 Tank House Lane, Toronto TICKETS $32.00 – $96.00 www.soulpepper.ca 416-866-8666 CAST Damien Atkins and Jason Cadieux DIRECTOR Gregory Prest SET & CUSTOMES  Yannik Larivee LIGHTING Rebecca Picherack SOUND Christopher Stanton FIGHT DIRECTOR Simon Fon STAGE MANAGER  Sarah Miller

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