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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Siebert

Marion Bridge: A Brilliantly Staged Story of Sisterhood

For a show that is beautifully challenging and heartbreakingly tender, don't miss Marion Bridge! Theatre Aezir’s production runs at the Palace Theatre until March 10th. Read on for our five-star review and get your tickets now!

Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor’s award-winning play tells the story of three sisters reunited for their dying mother’s final days. It’s a strong script, sparking laughter and tears with its sharp dialogue and richly compelling monologues. However, it is Theatre Aezir’s talented cast of three that elevates the story to excellence under the direction of Mike Semple. The show is produced by Elizabeth Durand, Artistic Director of Theatre Aezir.

The three sisters at the heart of Marion Bridge: Agnes, Theresa, and Louise.

The eldest sister, Agnes (Carolyn Grace Hall), leads a seemingly glamorous Toronto life but faces a shattered past when that is stripped back. Throughout the play, she desperately attempts to rebuild relationships, not only with her youngest sister but also with a daughter she was forced to give up. At the same time, Agnes interrogates whether forgiveness is possible or deserved when it comes to her mother and father.

Theresa (Karalyn Riepert) attempts to hold the family together, even while the foundation of her beliefs is shaken. She strives to be the peacemaker and a voice of reason, yet her own doubts and fears creep in. The youngest sister, Louise (Jessica Pereira), has an earnestness that brings moments of levity to the show. However, she struggles with feeling disconnected, not only from her family but from the world at large.

It’s an emotionally charged play that the actors handle with skill. Each character has incredible depth, but the true power comes when they play off of one another. From ferocious fights to tender moments of connection, the sisters' relationships felt so genuine.

Procunier Hall is a small space whose constraints present challenges to any production, yet Marion Bridge is the exact type of show meant to be staged there. In a unique twist, seating surrounds the living room set on three sides, allowing the audience to experience the actors’ performances in unparalleled intimacy.

The closeness of the audience is essential considering the content of the show and the incredibly nuanced performances. The small space of Procunier Hall means not a single word or expression is lost, even in the show’s quietest and most heartbreaking moments. It feels as if the audience has been invited into the family home. At times, the actors look right into your eyes as they speak, pulling you irresistibly into their stories.

The three sisters take their final bows.

Costuming also played a beautiful role in painting an immersive story of these characters’ lives, including their developments and changes. Theresa’s floral dresses and skirts turn more casual in the second act as she struggles with the core of her identity. The colours in Louise’s last sweater, echoing her mother’s final notes, was especially touching.

In the end, what is Marion Bridge? A rural town that inadvertently takes on significance, a place that symbolizes a flawed family's past. Each sister holds different memories of their childhood, and the ways they feel and experience these memories impacts their lives. The end of the play represents healing and a step towards a future where relationships can be rewritten without pasts being erased. For all the heartache, Marion Bridge is a play about the hope we can hold when we are supported by others. 

After such a fantastic production, I will definitely be keeping my eye on what Theatre Aezir does next. An up-and-coming nonprofit in London, they pride themselves on producing professional shows and “theatre that makes you think.” To ensure that theatre is accessible for young people, Theatre Aezir offers deep discounts for people 30 and under.

Don't miss this phenomenal show! The final run of performances for Marion Bridge is from March 6-10, including evening and matinee shows. Get your tickets today on the Palace Theatre’s website.

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