After an unfortunately (albeit necessary) hiatus and a successful run at the Grand Theatre in London, Room is ready for its run here in Toronto! Based on the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue, Room is a beautiful play with songs about how a mother’s love can triumph over even the darkest of circumstances. A collaborative effort between the original author Emma Donoghue and director/songwriter Cora Bissett, Room is a superb theatrical experience. I have been waiting two long years to get to see this show and I cannot express how thrilled I was to finally get to experience it.
The set was an absolute marvel. I loved the use of projection throughout the story; it allowed us to see into Jack’s mindset and watch him attempt to process the world around him through a distinctly childhood lens. Room itself was impressive, it was just cramped enough that you understood how small it really was while having several hidden gems like Jack’s wardrobe. Throughout the play I was amazed at how something as simple as lighting was able to allow us to see, or not see, whatever the director needed us to see. There were several times during Act II where I was amazed at how the set had changed without the audience being able to see anything, even while the revolve was turning!
The cast of Room is absolutely top notch. Featuring Alexis Gordon, Lucien Duncan-Reid, Levi Dombokah and Brandon Michael Arrington as Ma, Jack and Super Jack, I was blown away by their talent. Last night I got to see Lucien Duncan-Reid play Jack and I thought he was just delightful, so talented for such a young man. Alexis Gordon is the perfect fit for Ma; you could see the love and care she has for Jack, but also totally understand the mental journey she goes on throughout the play. Not to mention her amazing singing voice which gave such life and emotion to the songs. I loved how Brandon Michael Arrington was always on stage at the same time as little Jack, often right along side him rather than off to the side. It gave the audience a clear indication of his purpose: he is Jack’s inner monologue and is there to help us understand everything Jack is thinking and feeling throughout the course of the play. His movements and actions were so perfectly timed to Jack’s, it was splendid to behold. They are supported by a wonderful cast including Stewart Arnott, Tracey Ferencz, Shannon Taylor and Ashley Wright. Sometimes their characters were changing just as fast as the sets did and I was mightily impressed. This cast is stellar and deserves every standing ovation it receives.
Room is a play with music, a style of theatre which I have come to immensely enjoy. The songs in Room heighten the moments of intense emotion from the characters in such a meaningful way. Alexis Gordon and Brandon Michael Arrington pour themselves into these songs which give us such a deep emotional connection to what the characters are experiencing. I thought that it really elevated the story.
Room deals with some dark and difficult subject matter, but handles it with grace and understanding. My partner had never seen the movie or read the book, so it was fascinating to hear what he thought of the show as well, particularly with how they left things at the end of Act I. What we both loved about this story is the sense of closure and hope that you leave with; they’ve said goodbye to Room and Jack does understand that it’s going to be forever, but you also know that there are bright things in their future out in the world. If only every real case like Ma’s had such and ending.
This powerful show is an absolute MUST SEE! It runs until May 8 and tickets are available at https://www.mirvish.com/shows/room
Photo taken from https://www.mirvish.com/shows/room