5 Stars

What’s the latest scoop hot off the presses at the Stratford Festival? The Front Page, that’s what! Marking Graham Abbey’s directorial debut at the Festival, The Front Page is a hilarious, poignant work which is just as relevant and ruthless today as it was when it was written.

The Front Page chronicles an evening in a courthouse press room as reporters from several local papers await the hanging of a convicted murder. Tensions mount the longer the night goes on, until one mishap changes the course of the whole evening for the reporters as well as the system they’re reporting on. This particular adaptation was specially commissioned for the Festival, and has some clever additional turns of phrase sure to prick up the ears of audience members.

The Festival’s production is a veritable who’s who of Stratford greats. From returning favourites like Mike Shara and Sophia Walker to newer faces like Amelia Sargisson and Jamie Mac, this is an absolutely stellar cast. Principled by Ben Carlson and Maev Beaty, the cast is brilliant and makes you absolutely roar with laughter. From Michelle Giroux’s McLaren having to constantly clean up after the boys, to Micheal Spener-Davis’s Bensinger who tries keeps his desk meticulously clean, to the rest of the newsmen who create the mess, it’s a recipe for hilarity. Every actor on that stage adds a different piece to the antics of the night, and the chemistry on stage is magical; it creates such a riveting experience, you’re almost sad when it’s time for intermission.

One thing I loved about this play is how it was critical of everyone, the politicians, the justice system, and the journalists themselves; no one is immune to the ridicule this play administers. But it also means that there really is no hero to this story. We see the good, bad and ugly sides of everyone, but particularly the main characters who are some of the most influential people in the city. And just like real life, there’s no real solution to the system which they find to be so undeniably broken. It goes to show how little truly changes in our society, and the level of commitment it’s going to take to making that change.

I cannot recommend this play more highly, from the marvelously detailed set to the gorgeous period costumes to the staging and the actors, it is a theatrical triumph you won’t soon forget! The Front Page opens tonight at the Festival Theatre and runs through October 25th.

You can get your tickets at https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/WhatsOn/PlaysAndEvents/Production/The-Front-Page

Photo also obtained from the above link.


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