Metro Theatre, until May 25th
My Two Cents
Communicating Doors is an interesting genre-mixing story, pulled together very well by the cast and crew at Metro Theatre. It’s set in a hotel suite, which looks high-end and appropriately bland, and starts off with a dying man trying to appease his guilty conscience. As Reece, Daryl Hutchings has to deliver quite a bit of exposition while appearing sympathetic, misguided, and ill, which is an impressive balancing act.
The story has some very dark, menacing moments, generally led by Julian (Samuel B. Barnes). His calm and power is well played, and still flexible enough to manage sillier moments in the script.These humorous moments pepper the story quite liberally, and keep the viewer from worrying too intensely about the creepy plot points. Roger Monk, as Harold, tends to be a sign that the story is taking a lighter turn, and he is a pleasure to watch.
The element of this story that crept up on me (and impressed the most) was the genuine connections and kindness many of the characters displayed towards each other. Helen Martin, Jill Raymond, and Samantha Silver each portrayed distinct people with interesting arcs, but were similar in their grounded, caring performances. The sci-fi storyline and alternatively dark and comic tones could have overwhelmed the characterizations, but these actors handled the twists and turns confidently. It was easy to cheer for them and sympathize with their natural responses to incredible circumstances.
There are moments where the play certainly shows its age in dated attitudes and opinions around sex. At other moments, it still holds up surprisingly well for a play set ‘in the future’, as director Catherine Morrison points out in her notes. Because of this sometimes-iffy writing, I’m not convinced that this play is always a sure-fire hit. The Metro team has made the most of a difficult balancing act in their production which is certainly worth witnessing. How many times will you be able to say you saw (and enjoyed) a dark, humorous, heart-warming, sci-fi-thriller play?