James Ryan Gobuty
The Tarragon Theatre production of The Double is a hilarious adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel of the same name. Adam Paolozza, Arif Mirabdolbaghi, and Viktor Lukawski reunite their acting and musical talents to bring their Dora Award nominated show back to Tarragon.
Once you enter the theatre, you’ll notice a bass lying conspicuously across the stage and the sound of Russian music filling the theatre. Before the show begins, the audience is left with little doubt that music will be what drives this show forward and all remaining doubts are assuaged when Protest The Hero’s very own Arif Mirabdolbaghi takes the stage. Mirabdolbaghi masterfully juggles acting and music to provide a narrated experience that not only sets the scene, but also provides the tone and atmosphere of the entire show, plucking the characters along as easily as his string instrument.
Adam Paolozza, co-creator, director and star of this show plays the humorous yet pathetic Golyadkin. The tension between Golyadkin’s natural inertia and the overwhelming power of the narrator are played out marvelously by Paolozza, who seems like a man being pulled from both sides. The fact that Golyadkin remains lovable throughout is a testament to Paolozza’s acting.
As far as this critic is concerned, Viktor Lukawski is the be all and end all of this show. Lukawski plays every single part in the play (with the exceptions of Golyadkin and the narrator) often playing multiple characters in the same scene. His energy and versatility are the bedrock on which this show stands and his comedic timing is spot on. The fact that he could play a half-dozen characters in two hours without falling over with exhaustion is impressive in and of itself.
Andre Du Toit brings his Dora Award winning lighting design back to the Tarragon, and what a breath of fresh air it is. To quote the play “The Tarragon Theatre Extra Space is inadequate”, but the lighting design turns that on its head. It’s simply incredible how the lighting can turn such a small stage into a playing space that envelopes all of St. Petersburg. A special kudos has to be given to Du Toit for the lighting in the dream sequences; the lighting perfectly establishes a fantasy space, creating an almost cinematic effect juxtaposed against the more classic theatre lighting through the rest of the show.
The Double is a fantastic show that defies expectations. This production proves that if you have great talent in every aspect of a show, it won’t matter how big the playing space or the budget is.
The Double is playing from October 23 – November 24 at The Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space . Tickets range from $21-$53 (including discounts from students, seniors, and groups) and can be purchased online at www.tarragontheatre.com.