Starring Megan Follows, Maev Beaty. Written by Margaret Atwood. Directed by Kelly Thornton. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, to Feb. 10.
Toronto fell hard and fast for Nightwood Theatre’s onstage adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad last year. Luckily, unlike Penelope, who dodged lecherous suitors for two decades as she waited for her husband, Odysseus, to return from the Trojan War, we didn’t have to wait 20 years for its return. In the current remount, Megan Follows again leads a dream team cast of 13 women who tell the often-unheard story of the queen of Ithaca, who inadvertently caused the deaths of her dozen most loyal maids. Kelli Fox, Maev Beaty, Pamela Sinha, and Patricia Hamilton reprise their Dora Award–winning performances, and although you might miss the boyish pomp Bahia Watson brought to the role of Penelope’s son Telemachus, her successor, Neema Bickersteth, carries the role with a strong singing voice v. Meanwhile, the acclaimed cast is complemented by the same stunning design, costumes, song, movement, and dialogue showcased in the original production. The result is a two-and-a-half-hour-long epic that, while still in need of some tightening, is entirely worthy of a second trip.