Playwright: Michael Kras
Director: Michael Kras
Cast: Matthew Blackshaw, Alisa Blanchard, Robert Brown, Devin France, Jesse Horvath, Danny Johnston, Philip Krusto, Kayla Mazepa, Concetta Roche, Kit Simmons, Hannah Wayne.
Review by: Steven Spriensma
Jamie’s Gone is an affecting work of art about the disappearance of a little boy in a small town, but centers on the townspeople’s attempt to rationalize it and spin it so it can work in their favour. It’s insightful, gloomy, and really
I can compare the play most positively to one of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.” In that episode, the power goes out and the people of a small suburban neighbourhood are driven mad in an effort to figure out why; turns out, it was aliens. Now there are no aliens in this play, but Jamie’s Gone effectively creates that same sort of paranoia in the absence of explanation- people turning on each other and creating a feeling of claustrophobia only a small community can give off.
Despite the abstract nature of the show, playwright/director Michael Kras only lets the characters descend into anarchic madness once, and thus must be praised for restraint. Though the large cast never poses a problem for the story because of the tidy narrative style, the writing sometimes loses its subtlety when Kras takes jabs at fame-seekers and religion. However, it recovers because of the strength of the performers; Kit Simmons as Gertrude Collins is most noteworthy, playing the character of the distraught mother perfectly.
Jamie’s Gone is a mystery wrapped in absurdism, and while the stream of consciousness narrative won’t necessarily keep you guessing, it will keep you interested. And you the viewer will have to find out whether or not Jamie pulls the ol’ Godot. This is definitely one worth seeing at Fringe.