Classic Chic Productions has a mandate of performing classic plays with all-female casts — they credit themselves as “chicks bringing class to the classics.” Last year’s production of The Winter’s Tale was very well-received, and this year they’ve taken on the classic tale of desperate salesmen, Glengarry Glen Ross.
The intimate venue of The Beaumont Stage allowed for the audience to be engrossed by the fast-paced, razor sharp dialogue, and I was extremely impressed with the way these ladies were able to convey the masculine gestures of these domineering male characters. It would be easy to take a play like this, especially when done by a female cast, and have it turn out cheesy or over the top with exaggerated gesture, but that was not the case at all.
Shelley Levene (Colleen Winton) is in the middle of a bad streak of luck and needs to catch a break, but office manager John Williamson (Marci T House) is not willing to help him out. The opening exchange between these two characters was nuanced and full of just the right amount of masculine bravado, right down to the minute changes in their facial expressions. I knew right away that this play was going to be superb.
Each character was very well defined, and the whole cast gave exceptional performances. I particularly loved Richard Roma’s (Michelle Martin) monologue about the meaning of life that hooked a potential customer at a bar before Richard quickly slid a brochure under his nose. As these men show, it’s all about setting them up properly before you ask them to sign the contract. Back at the office when the same client came to see him, Dave Moss (Corina Akeson) was smooth as silk in his attempts to defer a meeting where he knew the client wanted to cancel.
Meanwhile, Dave has a plan to move up in the world of sales, aided by the unlikely accomplice George Aaronow (Suzanne Ristic). Their conversation about a potential robbery of the office was another highlight of the show, as Dave guides George through a hypothetical scenario the whole way, until he finally realizes what is being implied: “Are you saying you’re going to rob the office? I thought we were just talking!”
I was so captivated by the performances, the lengthy conversations of the first act flew by, and the scene in the office held my attention with its impeccable timing and characterizations that never wavered. What a spectacular achievement by this talented group of women.
Glengarry Glen Ross is presented by Classic Chic Productions from June 6 to 27 at the Beaumont Stage. Tickets are $25 at the door or $23 plus service fee online. Visit classicchic.ca for more information.