‘Heaven’ Opens at the Waterfront Playhouse (Paradise)

‘Heaven’ Opens at the Waterfront Playhouse (Paradise)

Posted Fri, Apr 26, 2002 in Articles

Most people think of heaven as a place of peace and tranquility, goodness and purity, gossamer clouds and quiet harps. Canada’s most produced playwright, George F. Walker, sees it in a very different way – and theater-goers will never forget his play “Heaven,” a comic, yet brutally honest, exploration of the issues of race, religion, karma and cultural diversity, opening May 9 at the Waterfront Playhouse.

Walker’s “Heaven” is part fantasy, part comedy and part drama; as a seasoned cast of six diverse characters intertwine their lives, deaths and aspirations in a park just outside a major city. The characters are rich, multifaceted and memorable. Jimmy, played by Richard Grusin, is a fascinating Irish Catholic civil rights lawyer who is married to a Jewish woman, Judy, played by Sally O’Boyle.

Jimmy’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown because his marriage has gone south due partly to his wife’s rabbi David, played by David Black.

Karl, played by Michael Beyra, is a monstrously corrupt undercover cop; a cold-blooded killer who gets his kicks forcing others to submit to his control. As if that weren’t enough, throw in a couple of colorful street kids, Derek, a drug dealer played by Hanrow Hartley, and Sissy, a sweet, circus performer wannabee on stilts, played by Eugenia Andruchowicz.

Walker’s free-flowing use of strong language and adult situations keeps the energy high; mixing it all with smart, snappy and very funny situations. The Waterfront’s Scott Gilmore directs these diverse characters to bounce off one another like animated pinball bumpers, and the pace he sets is as fascinating as it is unrelenting.

Walker’s trademark presentation of the ironies of human relationships reaches new heights in “Heaven,” showing how good intentions carried to extremes will invariably frustrate and complicate the lives of others. It starts with sex, violence and comedy . . . and then all Heaven breaks loose!

There will be 8:30 p.m. performances nightly, except Sunday and Monday, through June 1.

For reserved seats, call 294-5015.

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