Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus is a shot in the arm. The show, composed of three intertwining monologues is gutsy, shocking, and a whole lot of fun. The format is more storytelling rather than a traditional play, but if you can keep up, it is a very rewarding experience. The show is fast-paced and the language is littered with Irish slang, but in the end, it’s not that hard to follow due to the actors’ skilled delivery. The reality is that there is a fourth character in this play: Dublin. You get a sense of space, a feel for gritty streets, irate cab drivers, milling blokes pouring out onto the streets when the pub closes. This play transports you to a time and place, all the while interweaving grotesque and supernatural imagery, seamlessly.
The three characters’ stories crossover in unexpected ways, but this is incidental to the larger picture that is being painted here. The first has a school teacher estranged from her daughter, on a mission to save an ex-student from a violent back-alley abortion and on a path to redemption. In the second, a sexually and socially repressed woman falls in love with a demon who saves her life. The third is the story of a man who has sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the power to sing, and inevitably, given who he is dealing with, has gotten the short end of the stick. Having nothing more to lose and a lifetime full of anger to express, he is not afraid to lash out.
This show is expertly cast. Sarah Dodd is flawed and vulnerable as the retired schoolteacher and I empathized completely with her ridiculous-seeming quest. Ava Jane Markus is wide-eyed and terrified, a perfect foil to the ugliness that she falls for so completely. Adam Kenneth Wilson will send shivers down your spine, perfectly balancing the desperation of loneliness with the anger of the entitled in a horrendous mixture of wretchedness and fury.
The three characters have very little in common it seems, but they all inhabit a world that confounds them and that is filled with menace coming from all directions. The minimalistic design reflects the sparse opportunities and solutions that are available to the characters, but also offers a starkly beautiful back drop to the human drama unfolding. The stories are very dark and the format is challenging, but I loved it. To me, this is theatre for people who love theatre, and I would bring your intermediate to advanced theatre goers to see this show.
Terminus is at the Centaur Theatre (453 St-François Xavier) from January 23-February 15, call 514-288-3161 for details or see the website to purchase tickets. $49.50 for adults, 41.50 for Seniors, 35.50 for age 30 or younger, 27.00 for Students