KEVIN HANCHARD (Martin Luther King, Jr.) and BERYL BAIN (Camae) in The Mountaintop. Photo by Trudie Lee.
March 25 – April 20, 2014
Max Bell Theatre
Listen to my review on CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener at
I’m far too conflicted about this one to break it down into neat categories. So instead let’s look at the positives and negatives of this show:
On the plus side – Killer performances are the major draw for this production. Both actors tear up the stage and are thrilling to watch despite the script betraying them in the end. The first 50 minutes or so in this fictional account of Dr King’s last night on earth is an entertaining (if a bit thin) piece of theatre deftly directed by Jan Alexandra Smith that while not revelatory, has several satisfying themes and arcs to keep our attention.
Where it falls apart – After the BIG plot twist is revealed, things go downhill quickly. Once the surprise wears off, the play begins to drag seemingly not knowing how to wind down. Then when it does end, it is such a mess and so out of step with the rest of the show that it almost makes us forget what we liked about the play to begin with. Here we have writing that lacks confidence and direction that is both overly dramatic and shallow.
SEE IT or SKIP IT? – The good is great, the bad is awful. Enjoyment of this show depends on how full you view your half glass.