Elissa Barnard reviews Slowly I Turn in her article “Slowly I Turn a wonderful, tender story”. Read the article below, or at The Chronicle Herald.
Slowly I Turn a wonderful, tender story:
The trick to Zuppa Theatre Co.’s Slowly I Turn is that a real-life father-and-son John and Ben Stone perform a play about fathers and sons in an actual living room with a fire in the fireplace and snacks.
“I feel I should call my mother,” a viewer said after watching the intimate and beautiful 90-minute show, created for an audience of 20.
Slowly I Turn: A Parlour Vaudeville in One Act is homey and homemade in design, but ultimately sophisticated and artful in its universal themes of love and family and death.
Writer Ben Stone is a professional actor who decided to realize his dream of acting with his father, teacher John Stone, after his bout with cancer and other health problems.
Ben tells the audience all the details about his dad’s health, while John sleeps and snores and shifts around in a comfy chair with a blanket and a hot water bottle.
Then Ben steps into the play, but what is fiction and what is reality? It is all mixed up in a wonderful way as Ben creates “a little world that reflects the real world,” to quote his dream of theatre from childhood.
Ben is a professional actor with a strong stage presence that he tones down for nuances of expression to become the sometimes-guilty, often-playful son to John, who is not an actor but delivers his lines with a soft strength and sincerity.
John is willing to become the aged father, fragile and forgetful, particularly in the moving scene when Ben lets his father act out Hamlet’s ghost, who was Hamlet’s father. This is just one of the many-story-within-a-story aspects of Slowly I Turn.
Named after a slapstick skit made famous by the Three Stooges, the show is full of corny jokes, song, music and vaudeville humour as it reveals the teasing, fun aspect of this father-son relationship.
Ben tells his father Slowly I Turn is about love, death, time and parents.
“It’s about you,” John says.
When it comes to family and to theatre, it’s about everybody.
Tender, thought-provoking and unforgettable, Slowly I Turn is directed by Graham Percy and features Zuppa’s hallmark innovative staging in unusual spaces.
Set and costume designer Leesa Hamilton hangs rich, red velvet curtains for the proscenium stage of the dining room and creates papier mache planets that are magical as the father and son lie beneath the stars and contemplate existence.
Jess Lewis is the highly effective lighting designer and plays the nurse and the music.
Slowly I Turn, upstairs at 6267 Duncan St. in Halifax, is sold-out for its run to March 31, but a matinee has just been added for Sunday at 2 p.m.
Call 489-9872 to reserve tickets ($25/$20) or to go on a waiting list. Check for Zuppa, which is now 14 years old, both online and on Facebook for updates. Please bring your slippers.