Fiona Byrne as She and Martin Happer as He in Stage Kiss. Photo by David Cooper.

With Martin Happer’s lips like sparks as He (right) and Fiona Byrne’s heart like gasoline as She (left) events are bound to get complicated when a blast from the past unexpectedly becomes the present again. The Shaw Festival’s presentation of Stage Kiss is for anyone who feels as if they’ve been ‘ghosted’ by another for an entire life.

A QUIRKY ROM-COM

Remember your first ever lip locking event and how it made you perpetually weak in the knees, overturned your insides and let’s not forget the endless fireworks blowing off in the sky above.   It really was something else!

Stage Kiss doesn’t have quite the same life-altering effect but something pretty darn close when you get to it.   Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s ‘look who’s back’ quirky rom-com is everything you wish you could do if you could cross paths again with that one you regrettably let slip away.

“It is if no time has passed,” are the seven ironic words uttered in describing the moment.

And it does beg the question, has there ever been such a thing other than a premediated kiss. C’mon, some things unplanned can have surprisingly positive effects but when passion and hormones are involved, intent has to be there can only fall short of expectations.

This screwball comedy is a play within a play where amateur theatre players put on its best attempt to make what’s likely the worst written play have some level of contemporary appeal. That, in and of itself, is what reinforces the hysterically hokey make out session glossed over with giggles galore.

It’s been forever and a day waiting to see principals Neil Barclay, Martin Happer and Fiona Byrne in a modern day telling of any kind.   Barclay’s role as a Director is keenly allusive and Happer’s romance lead is genuine proof what makes the hearts of all men skip a beat.

As for Fiona Byrne, she’s something like a phenomenon sorting out her emotions in what many are calling a career-best work from this classic theatre queen.

Together in the Royal George with a few F-Bombs flying by faster than penalty shots at the 2018 World Cup, mandate times are definitely changing in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The fact is that some people should never be together while others should never be apart. Half of the fun in Stage Kiss is finding out which one is more debatable.

And while it’s true you can never really go home again, circling the neighbhourhood a few times for memory sake is certainly most satisfying unsatisfied.

 

 STAGE KISS by Sarah Ruhl April 11 – Sept 1, 2018 SHAW FESTIVAL, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario TICKETS www.shawfest.com 1-800—511-SHAW $25.00 – $117.00 CAST Fiona Byrne, Marin Happer, Neil Barclay, Rong Fu, Jeff Meadows, Sarena Parmar and Sanjay Talwa DIRECTOR Anita Rochon SET AND COSTUMES Gillian Gallow LIGHTING Louise Guinand

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