GLORIOUS AND TOUCHING
Let the record show that Annie Baker’s tale of a trio of outsiders by no means relies on little green men exiting spaceships or a group of undocumented immigrants risking their lives to cross borders for a better tomorrow to strike a powerful chord with theatregoers.
And while sequential themes of not belonging stretches as far back as 1955’s Rebel Without A Cause—not to mention 1985’s The Breakfast Club—the daunting task for any playwright venturing into this kind of thematic wilderness is crafting a story with a contrasting spin that embraces the psyche of its generation.
The Aliens, now being given a glorious staging by Coal Mine Theatre, isn’t just worth emotional investment, its one that pays off with inspirited dividends.
One of the most remarkable achievements of this touching tale is the setting itself which defies any concept of life’s sunnier side of the street. The bonds are formed outback of an eatery where a picnic table is all that’s needed for deeper relationships to take shape.
Amusing undertones through attention grabbing dude talk and a pause heavy examination of hearts & minds combined with unforeseen tragedy that triggers pathos is truly what makes this a striking play experience.
William Greenblatt’s musically passionate KJ is in an analytical world of his own to make sure his bosom buddy Jasper, played by the always dramatically daring Noah Reid, recovers from a broken heart as he pushes forward to finish a novel that may one day rank with the greatness of Charles Bukowski.
But it’s Maxwell Hayne’s always lost for words Evan that possesses excessive intrigue in this production. The character is the more marginalized than his restless peers and you can only suspect he’s introduced as an agent of change throughout the piece.
If you take the position that sophisticated narrative mapping and intellectual debate are necessary essentials for great theatre, The Aliens challenges you to think again. This one can bring you to tears.
THE ALIENS by Annie Baker September 20 – October 8, 017 COAL MINE THEATRE 1454 Danforth Avenue, Toronto TICKETS $42.50 http://www.brownpapertickets.com/TheCoalMine CAST William Greenblatt, Maxwell Haynes, Noah Reid DIRECTOR Robert Cushman SET & COSTUMES Anahita Dehbonehie LIGHTING Nick Blais SOUND Sam Sholdice STAGE MANAGER Kate Sandeson