The Gigli Concert
Personal experiences are best shared with topped up vodka glasses. Diego Matamoros (left) and Stuart Hughes (right) explore and resolve with sheer genius in ‘The Gigli Concert’ on stage at Young Centre for Performing Arts until May 16.


Need convincing that Soulpepper Theatre Company has an affinity for presenting the impossible? Look no further than The Gigli Concert as irrefutable proof. What appears as a masterpiece on page can only be viewed as impervious to stage. Director Nancy Palk ignores the tension between vision and execution to deliver the season’s first heap of dramatic beauty.
And if you’ve ever found yourself saying “Christ, how am I going to get through today?” you’ll soon discover you’re in good company with a trio of enticing characters coping with life’s brazen imperfections throughout a 7-day relationship horizon.

Irish playwright Tom Murphy provides a close up view of the effects of mental health issues almost suggesting that we’re all a bit off-balanced in one way or another. His tale of a quack psychiatrist stuck between a woman he can never have and a wealthy businessman wanting to sing like opera great Beniamino Gigli is triumphant and deeply felt.

‘Bring your pistols, I shall bring the booze,’ instructs King as he embarks on a six lesson voice empowerment undertaking.

A highly rhythmic Diego Matamoros is gracefully inviting as failed dynamatologist, JPW King. The veteran actor relies on cautious analytics in determining the best way to respond to the peculiar request of a wannabe tenor.

No brand of tautness ever surfaces quite like the kind Stuart Hughes is renowned for. Playgoers only know him as The Irishman but what a remarkable balancing act going from ‘barrel of gun powder’ to happy-go-lucky recovered patient.

Little is disclosed about Mona’s past aside from her union of disappointment although her future is heartbreakingly known upon the story’s conclusion. Not only does the talent of Irene Poole illustrate how underutilized this role really is, she’s faultless in her portrayal of a woman looking for true love wherever it can be found.

Despite its many overwritten scenes, The Gigli Concert is a highly pleasing narrative that makes you feel good about who and what you are. While some of us stand closer to the edge than others, a step backwards is always an option.

Review by Steven Berketo

Mar. 18 – May 16, 2014
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
50 Tank House Lane, Toronto
Tickets $29.00 – $74.00

CAST: Diego Matamoros, Stuart Hughes and Irene Poole
DIRECTOR: Nancy Palk

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