Bed and Breakfast:
Home Sweet Home
The Centaur closes its season with a refreshing new Canadian comedy hit
By Patricia Dumais
It’s an eternal human quest, finding just the right place to call home, and it can sometimes prove a daunting challenge.
Take Brett and Drew, a gay Toronto couple dissatisfied with their lives, seeking something different… but what? When Bret inherits his late aunt Maggie’s Victorian house in small town Ontario, their first reaction is to sell it. This proving difficult, as the place needs lots of work, they then ponder the idea of renovating and opening a bed and breakfast. Brett, an interior decorator and Drew, a former hotel concierge, are keen to the challenge. But how would they, an openly gay couple, fit in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business?
This is the premise behind playwright Mark Crawford’s new Canadian comedy Bed and Breakfast, the Centaur’s last offering of its 48th season. Roy Surette, the theatre’s outgoing Artistic and Executive Director, first caught the play when it premiered at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in 2015. “Seeing Bed and Breakfast was a revelation. Not only is it funny, it’s deeply moving and full of surprises. The story’s fast paced scenes and the actors’ versatility keep spectators engaged and highly entertained. It’s a sweet story with important messages about diversity and acceptance…”
This remount is directed by Krista Colosimo, who has seven Shaw Festivals to her credit as an actor and was last seen in Montreal at the Segal Centre in The Seagull.
I marvelled at how they effortlessly switched back and forth, from one character to another…
Crawford himself assumes the role of Brett while Paul Dunn, who just happens to be his real-life partner, plays Drew. This is a Centaur debut for both actors who have extensive stage experience throughout Canada. The talented duo also takes on a smorgasbord of supporting roles, 22 in all, from narrow-minded rednecks, to chatty girlfriends, to awkward schoolboys and retirees. I marvelled at how they effortlessly switched back and forth, from one character to another, while adopting the postures, mannerisms, and accents unique to each one.
Dana Osborne’s set is perfectly suited to the play – neutral-toned and minimalist, relying on clever sound effects by John Gzowski, instead of props that may have gotten in the way of all the fast paced action. This and Rebecca Picherak’s creative use of lighting help us to effortlessly imagine the different settings – urban apartment, Victorian house, coffee shop, etc.
Bed and Breakfast will strike a chord with anyone who sees it. Although the emphasis is on the gay couple’s experience, many sensitive topics are broached – coming of age, teen pregnancy, family dysfunction, among others. While hilariously funny throughout, there are some very poignant scenes and I challenge anyone to leave the theatre without shedding a tear.
Bed and Breakfast continues at the Centaur until May 21.
Information and ticket at 514 288-3161 or centaurtheatre.com
Images: Andrée Lanthier
Patricia Dumais is co-editor and artistic director of WestmountMag.ca, and occasionally contributes articles. She began her career as a graphic designer and assistant artistic director on several Canadian feature films and documentaries. Patricia then worked in the field of communication and, in 1988, she co-founded Visionnaires branding design. firstname.lastname@example.org