BOLD, MOMENTOUS AND SUBLIME
It’s strange how a knock on a hotel room door can change everything you thought you knew about the world. Whether the person on the other side is an invited guest or a complete stranger—maybe even a combination of both—all that’s needed to challenge assumptions is an intense dialogue path to define beliefs.
The best thing about playwright Erin Shields’ gripping psychological thrill ride is that you don’t have to be on either side of a debate to enjoy the structurally sound story vehicle. Fraught with the unpredictable, this is the kind of play that reminds you how filthy the brine is at the bottom of a blocked drain when the morally impermissible goes unchecked.
That’s because Soliciting Temptation, the tale of a middle aged man’s business trip to a developing country where a young woman arrives for the proverbial flesh for cash transaction, pleasingly sets up the improbable in what’s best described as fifty shades of abnormal.
Derek Boyes looks fine in his Tarragon debut shifting from the powerful to powerless in a blink of an eye. His character’s defense of ‘a man to be admired’ has a conceptual foundation yet the actor’s approach to the material illustrates the comfortable confinement of the perception snare.
What an eye-opening performance by Miriam Ferandes. She takes on the classic self-assured, privileged, post-secondary schooled nemesis role like it’s her birthright to do so while showing genuine vulnerability when the conflict appears lost.
Observing the two players call each other out for their obvious hypocrisies is bold, momentous and sublime.
Even with its fascinating sexual subtext, Soliciting Temptation rewards playgoers with an intimate look at societal ills that continue to linger. This one unites the heart and mind for a new understanding of human behaviour.
Review by Steven Berketo
By Erin Shields
Apr. 9 – May 4, 2014
Tarragon Theatre Extraspace
30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto
Tickets $21.00 – $53.00
CAST: Derek Boyes and Miriam Fernandez
DIRECTOR Andrea Donaldson