I'm both a hopeless romantic and history buff, so Geneveive Adam's play, Deceitful Above All Things was quite naturally on my radar.
Layered with excellent writing, immersive imagery and seat-gripping plot twists, the script is excellent. Taking us back to 1667 in the colony of New France, this play portrays a quick look into the lives of the historically intriguing Filles du Roi. Using religion, love and sex as underlying themes, Adam's production stands out at this year’s festival.
If historical dramas are not usually on your list, then you might want to submerge yourself into a brief taste of our nation's past. With the use of proper costuming (Erin Gerofsky) and effective set pieces and projections (Nancy Perrin), the production has many great elements that come together to harmonize it as a whole. The production pulls you right into the story with the flying of the ice block that hovers above as the play progresses - an intriguing and utterly noteworthy aspect. The acting is strong, the story is compelling and the action is engaging.
I have but two criticisms for a show that needs to build and expand beyond SummerWorks.
Firstly, the onstage chemistry between Marguerite (Imogen Grace) and Toussaint Langlois (Garret Smith) was morbidly awkward throughout the majority of the production, most notably in their first encounter.
Okay, sure - he shot a bear that could have potentially killed you and he's quite suspicious, so let's forego the sexual tension and jump right into the pregnancy. Overall, I witnessed no love or connection in the relationship, which now leaves me pondering if he's even the baby daddy. Smith also had difficulty showing range and thus fell flat, as did Joelle Peters playing Catherine/Genessee.
Secondly, while Adam's writing was tremendously well done, the flow of scenes lacked proper timing. This created confusion between the temporal periods. Although not a huge downfall, it felt like a puzzle that required piecing. I don't like puzzles mixing with my plays.
Deceitful Above All Things runs until Aug. 15 on the Factory Theatre's mainstage. For more information, visit www.summerworks.ca.