Whiteout by Michael McPhee, produced by the Doppler Effect playing now at the Atlantic Fringe Festival, came out of 2009’s 24 Hour Theatre at the Bus Stop, which I think is a fantastic idea since so many plays are created there each year that disappear once that day comes to an end. Whiteout, a ghost story, comes alive in the skilful hands of its professional cast and makes for an entirely captivating and fun 45 minutes of theatre.
In my experience there aren’t a lot of good quality professionally-written horror or ghost genre works for the theatre. I think that might be because there is a misconception that writing such a show for the theatre is difficult and requires millions of dollars’ worth of special effects to be able to compete with the film industry. What strikes me so much about Whiteout is how simple it all seems, and yet how effective that can be.
McPhee also directs the piece and he mounts the tension throughout so that the audience is filled with anxiety and constant anticipation. There was a little bit of dead time between scenes that would benefit from being tightened up, as to not allow any of that tension dissipate, but McPhee uses the element of surprise to perfect effect.
The cast of this show includes Annie Valentina, Ann Doyle, Pasha Ebrahimi, Matthew Lumley and Rhys Bevan-John and they all give performances that are seamless and look effortless. Lumley has an especially hilarious pothead monologue and his comic timing is impeccable, while Bevan-John’s physicality is the very heart of the show’s creepiness.
There’s a twist at the end, and I think it enriches the piece, but I’m not sure if it is as well-fleshed out as it could be yet. [Spoiler Alert] I was a little unclear why Rhys’ character would appear to be a zombie or ghost to the rest of them if he was actually alive. There may be some space to clarify in the ending, but it certainly doesn’t impact the enjoyment of the piece.
Whiteout plays at The Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) at the following times. It is 45 minutes long and costs $ 10.00.
Monday, September 5th, 5:30pm
Tuesday, September 6th, 6:30pm
Friday, September 9th, 9:15pm
Saturday September 10th, 8:15pm
Sunday September 11th, 5:15pm
To book advanced tickets please visit Neptune Theatre’s Box Office, 1593 Argyle Street or call 902.429.7070 or visit www.atlanticfringe.ca.
Same Day Sales are available at the venue (Neptune Studio Theatre) From 1 Hour Before the First Show of the Day.