Adult Aussie hit comes to Belfry Theatre

Toronto production comes to Victoria

Actors Yanna McIntosh

Emotional, intimate and dark, Speaking in Tongues explores infidelity, going where good people don’t, and where others are tempted.

Themes of adultery abound in the award-winning play by Australian Andrew Bovell.

Despite playing to strong reviews in London and New York over the past decade, the emotional thriller only made its Canadian debut in 2012 when Toronto-based Company Theatre brought it to life.

The same gang from Company Theatre is now in Victoria preparing it for a Belfry Theatre run from Jan. 22 to Feb. 24.

“Bovell has a great track record, Speaking has had a good run so it was surprising that it hadn’t been done in Canada yet,” director Philip Riccio said.

Four actors – Richard Clarkin, Jonathan Goad, Helene Joy and Yanna McIntosh – play nine characters in the non-linear story.

“It’s more like what you might see in film, different stories that interconnect told in a puzzle,” Riccio said.

The storyline jumps around so much, there was initial worry the audience would need added plot cues, but the writing by Bovell, carries that out, Riccio said. It’s as sharp now as it was when it was written in 1996.

It comes to Victoria through  Riccio’s relationship with Belfry’s artistic director Michael Shamata. The two previously worked together in Toronto, where Riccio co-founded Company Theatre with Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle).

“When we were considering Speaking in 2011, I sent it to (Shamata) because I thought it would be great with his season.”

Riccio’s awareness grew when Bovell’s When The Rain Stops Falling was well received in Niagara on the Lake last summer.

Company’s director and cast have little to connection to Victoria, aside from some relatives of actor Gemini-award winner Helene Joy, who is actually Australian.

Some, including Riccio, have never been here.

One thing the Company does have in common with the Belfry is the stage.

In Toronto they’re based out of the Berkeley Street Theatre, an intimate venue not unlike the Belfry. It’s an old brick warehouse-type of building, refurbished with 244-seat and 176-seat stages, near the city’s art-heavy Distillery District.

Tickets range from $25 to $40, with 8 p.m. shows from Tuesday to Saturday. Wednesday matinees at 1 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Available through Belfry.bc.ca.

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