This is (to put it mildly) a vanity production. It is written, directed and produced by Anthony Sherwood, who has a starring role as well. There is no question that Anthony Sherwood is fine actor. He should have stuck with that. The script is tortuous, uninteresting and repetitive. There are playwrights whose work screams for dramaturgy, and here is one. The direction was repetitive and uninspired and there was no one to tell Sherwood that he was delivering all his lines in exactly the same overwrought manner using identical gestures throughout. At one point he sings an uninspired song by Lead Belly, but the song must be one of his least interesting, and because it is about the Titanic we have to listen to it twice.
Conrad Caton does a truly heroic job as Joseph Laroche, the only black man on the Titanic. His dialogue may have been written with a heavy hand and is often repetitive and overwrought, but Caton delivered with grace some of the worst clichés possible, managing to put a lot of heart into the performance.
Audrey Ferron was given almost nothing interesting to say as Joseph Laroche’s wife, and she delivered the insipid lines with an accent that went from pseudo French to German and then to Dutch. Dialect coaches are not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Patrick Charron seemed to have a lot of costume changes while playing the same racist villain in different settings. He is, of course, the consummate villain and delivered his few pithy lines with just the right sneer. Tasha Gero did not impress as a cabaret singer. She has a terrific voice but she seemed nervous and uncomfortable and her songs were not very moving and way too long.
The bright spot in this otherwise lengthy showcase for Mr. Sherman was Isaiah Gero Marsman. He stole the show even though someone should have asked him not to chew gum on the stage. I am guessing that this play was thrown together to be mounted during the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic. I also well understand that in the early part of the twentieth century racism was an even bigger issue than it is today. But I fail to see how this particular work makes a difference in enlightening people about either the ship or the social and historical context in which it sailed.
July 18th to July 22nd
At The Segal Centre, 5170 Chemin de la Cote Ste Catherine
514 739 7944 / www. Segalcentre.org