Trout Stanley: Twin Purpose

Trout Stanley by Claudia Dey, Exquisite Theatre Corps, The Factory Theatre, 9/9/11-9/25/11.  http://www.exquisitecorps.org/trout-stanley/.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Boston, MA) Exquisite Corps Theatre opens its second season with the delightfully odd Trout Stanley.  Set in the middle-of-nowhere Canada, the old brick walls of the Factory Theatre make the perfect backdrop for the shabby home of twin sisters, Grace and Sugar Ducharme.

We meet the twins on their 30th birthday.  Kathryn Grace’s “Grace” struts around the stage, big and bombastic, almost over the top as she describes her likeness on a local hunting store’s billboard.  Grace has a lust for life and a slightly unusual respect for trash.

Becky Webber’s “Sugar” is as different as can be from her sister.  Agoraphobic and having worn her dead mother’s tracksuit everyday for the past ten years, Sugar is fragile and childlike, and a bit peculiar.  She spends her days cooking for Grace and reading a book about human deformities.  Webber lends a spectacular balance to Sugar’s endearing oddities.

When the news reports that a Scrabble champion stripper has gone missing, a protective Grace warns Sugar not to open the door for anyone.  She does, of course.  Here enters the plays namesake, a slovenly drifter named Trout Stanley, who saves Sugar from suicide and a life unlived.  Sean George’s “Trout” is a tad scary and a bit too frenetic.  George finds his way when he reveals Trout’s strangely poetic life philosophy, though you still have to be willing to forgive his shady past and how he came to wear a police uniform three sizes too small.

The first act is madcap hilarity as the three actors let loose with the humor of the story, but the second act is filled with expressive monologues that ground the characters in the reality of life with all of its beauty and ugliness.  Notwithstanding solid performances by the three actors, the emotional disparity of the two acts may leave you scratching your head.

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