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Bed & Breakfast Distillery District Soulpepper Theatre Toronto

Bed & Breakfast in the Distillery District – Mark Crawford’s Play Comes to Soulpepper Theatre (A Review)

The story of small-town gays leaving home for the brighter lights and safer havens of the big city streets is a well known one. Gays have been escaping the tyranny of close-minded homophobic home towns for so long, it’s a well worn trope. Growing up in the 80s, Bronski Beat‘s Small Town Boy became an anthem for thousands upon thousands of young gays stuck in horrible nightmare existences, fending off bullies at school and homophobic parents at home. The battle was never-ending. The song informed some of a way out, as it reminded others of the way they escaped.

Mark Crawford’s play, BED & BREAKFAST, turns this escape from small-town oppression ass over teakettle. He brings the gays back into town. Brett and Drew are a gay couple who inherit a family home when Brett’s beloved Aunt Maggie passes on. While they struggle with the chaos of their careers in the big city of Toronto, they slowly imagine themselves chucking it all in and retreating to the quieter existence and the more down to earth affordability of the small town in which their newly acquired home is located. Against the better judgement of their ridiculously flamboyant real estate agent friend, they eventually succumb to the notion and leave the city lights behind.

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Bed & Breakfast, now playing at SOULPEPPER THEATRE in the Distillery District (August 11th – September 2nd, 2018)

I want to say hilarity ensues. In fact, if I did I would be hitting the nail on the head. Because HILARITY ENSUES. I actually can’t remember the last time I laughed so much at a play. If Bed & Breakfast were a kid on the playground at recess, it would probably share its snack with NOISES OFF. It’s that kind of high-jinx funny. It’s so intelligent and witty and fast-paced. The same kind of high-camp that brought tears to my eyes while watching the bedlam and madness of NOISES OFF. Bed & Breakfast is gorgeously hilarious. I had a hard time choosing which of the two actors I adored more. They each play a bevy of different characters and the way they transform from one character to another is often as funny as the characters themselves. Both Paolo Santalucia and Gregory Prest were flawless. Just spectacular. If you go, keep your eye out for those first appearances of Santalucia’s earrings and Prest’s hoodie going up. Absolutely delightful.

I think the greatest achievement the two actors pull off is the absoluteness of the character transformations. At times the switches from character to character are so instantaneous and frequent, there’s the equivalent of a crowd on stage…and it is only the two of them, each juggling characters with such accurate perfection the audience never loses track of who’s appearing. How they kept the balls in the air, I’ll never know.

Now for the reason I hesitated in saying hilarity ensues. This play was extremely hard-hitting. As much as I laughed, I also cried. That’s because Mark Crawford nailed small town bigotry in a few brief instances that really took my breath away. This playwright has a powerful way of drawing in the audience with laughter, making them feel comfortable about what it is they are there for…a few great laughs. When he pulls the rug out from under you with the hard-hitting truth that not everything in the gay world is kikis and Cher and rainbows and glitter, you’re unprepared…but you also somehow know it was coming. It’s built into the premise of the play. Problems were bound to arise. The gays dared to return to the small town they escaped.

If BED & BREAKFAST is not yet on your radar, it should be. It’s a heart-wrenching, heart-warming story told with great comedic timing and soul. The depiction of what it’s like to be gay and facing homophobia and bigotry, as well as its opposite when the stakes are raised and support and love flood in, is so spot on it will break your heart if you’ve experienced it yourself in the past. If you haven’t, you’ll see it played out accurately on the Soulpepper stage. Without giving away too much, there’s a scene with a man in his 80s–a neighbour to the gay couple who opened their bed and breakfast–that will tear at your heartstrings. It’s the rub, perhaps of the story itself. When the ugliness of the world shows itself, there’s only one way to tamp it down. LOVE.

GO. SEE. BED & BREAKFAST. As they say, “you will laugh, you will cry.” It will definitely move you.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BED & BREAKFAST PAGE ON THE SOULPEPPER THEATRE WEBSITE.

DIRECT LINK TO TICKETS

BED & BREAKFAST by MARK CRAWFORD

Running at SOULPEPPER THEATRE

in TORONTO’s DISTILLERY DISTRICT

from AUGUST 11TH TO SEPTEMBER 2ND!

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Bed & Breakfast Distillery District Soulpepper Theatre Toronto

Bed & Breakfast Now Playing at Soulpepper Theatre!

Canadian playwright Mark Crawford‘s play BED & BREAKFAST is currently on at Soulpepper Theatre in the Distillery District of Toronto. I’ve been waiting for this one! I can’t wait to see it tonight!

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Here’s the synopsis from the Soulpepper website:

CANADA 2015

When Brett inherits the family home, he and Drew move out of fast-paced Toronto to set up a B&B in a picturesque tourist town. But will these big city boys face friction in their new community? With dozens of hilarious characters, all portrayed by two actors, Bed and Breakfast is a heartwarming comedy about “being out” in small town Ontario, family skeletons in the closet, and finding a place to call home.

Bed & Breakfast is an LGBTQ story set in Ontario. Fantastic to see LGBTQ representation on stage in our city. This was enough to draw me in. It promises to be a hilarious show, too. What sounds most intriguing is that the cast is made up of only 2 actors (Gregory Prest & Paolo Santalucia). “Dozens of hilarious characters, all portrayed by two actor.” Yep! I’m here for that! Especially when it’s Soulpepper putting on the production. Everything I’ve seen from them thus far has been flawless.

You can catch BED & BREAKFAST from now until September 2nd, but don’t wait…I’m guessing tickets will go quickly. And it’s in an incredible Toronto neighbourhood, too! There’s some great restaurants in the Distillery District. We’ll be heading to El Catrin, a Mexican restaurant, ahead of the show for a certain someone’s BIRTHDAY celebration dinner!

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Distillery District in Toronto, a gorgeous neighbourhood…and the home of Soulpepper Theatre!

There’s a bit of a warning on this one>>> “Note: This production contains strong/mature language.”

If I were able, I’d definitely check out the their new interactive feature MATINEE MORNINGS. Matinee Mornings offer an engaging and interactive 90 minute workshop prior to the August 22 matinee performance.” If your Wednesday mornings are free, you can check out the details for this performance HERE.

YOU CAN GO DIRECTLY TO THE BUY TICKETS PAGE FOR BED & BREAKFAST BY CLICKING HERE.

As always, Soulpepper Theatre has an interactive hashtag for you to become a part of the conversation around BED & BREAKFAST.

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Soulpepper Theatre is located right inside the Distillery District in the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION USING #spBedBreakfast

I’m really looking forward to tonight’s performance! Can’t wait to see what they do with this play!