A beautifully crafted Overcoat

Everyone has a Pokeroo in their lives (someone or something that always seems to elude them no matter how hard they try to find it/see it) – or a Snuffleupagus for our American friends …

The Overcoat adapted by Morris Panych currently playing at CanStage (Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre) has been my Pokeroo since 2000. I remember hearing about when it first premiered in Toronto and thinking “Wow, this sounds like something I’d like to see!” But I missed it then … and then in 2002 when it came back … but now, after years of travelling around the world and mesmerizing audiences internationally it has returned to Toronto and you can be sure that I was not going to miss it this time.

You can imagine my excitement when my invitation to the opening night arrived in the mail – I was on the phone right away to reserve my seats.

This play does not disappoint. I suggest everyone buy a ticket and see some great performances. The play centers around a man who’s life is pretty standard – nothing exceptional. His co-workers bug him because he’s a bit of a “loser”. His landlady continually throws herself at him, but he’s not interested. His life is rather plain – as is his overcoat. But one day – after his coat becomes not much more than a rag hanging off him, he finds a taylor who designs him his very own overcoat – fitted and everything. This is one of the best parts of the play – watching the taylor and the sewers work tirelessly to create this amazing overcoat.

It’s love at first sight. Our protagonist is thrilled with his new coat and so is everyone else. He finally becomes noticed by everyone and is invited to drink and dine with the socialites of the town.

Unfortunately, fame has its price as he soon finds out and the second act takes a decidedly darker turn. While The Overcoat doesn’t end up on the happiest note, it is a wonderful story. One of the things I liked most about this show is the fact that the entire thing is done sans text. It is completely told through movement and music. It’s not a musical, there are no ballads, and it’s not dance per say. The staging of it is incredible, the set is beautiful, lighting superb, the music is fantastic … and the acting is brilliant! I can’t say enough about this show. I love shows that don’t rely on text to tell the story, and this show delivers.

I highly suggest you check it out. You can buy tickets through CanStage or T.O.TIX if you want to try and get some discount tickets – www.totix.ca.

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