BWW Reviews: David Suchet in THE LAST CONFESSION is Drama at its Absolute Best
5 out of 5 stars
For the longest time, I was under the impression that Toronto audiences were not fans of drama - for we just don't seem to get many of them in our biggest theatres during most theatre seasons.
From now until June 1st, Toronto audiences have the opportunity to experience drama at its finest - The Last Confession starring veteran stage and screen actor David Suchet is a brilliant work of art that can only be described as utterly brilliant.
The play, part murder mystery, part political commentary, part ethics debate hails to us after a highly successful run in the West End, before continuing on an international tour.
The play follows Cardinal Giovanni Benelli (Suchet), who doesn't just serve the pope - he makes the pope. After manipulating a conclave to elect Albino Luciani as the pope following the death of pope Paul, Benelli seeks absolution from the current pope as he recalls the mysterious events surrounding the death of Luciani, who was found dead just thirty three days after being named the pope.
The story is craftily penned by newcomer Roger Crane, who worked as lawyer before writing The Last Confession - which is the first play he's ever written. The script is smart, witty, and keeps the mind engaged for the entire duration of the two and a half hour production - you won't find your thoughts drifting or yourself asking when intermission is at this one!
The large cast of twenty are all excellent performers - and hail from the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. The standout performances of the group, however, come from Suchet and Richard O'Callaghan as Albino Luciani. Suchet, who is hardly ever off stage manages to win you over in the first minutes of the performance - and the intensity he brings to the role is captivating. The soft spoken O'Callaghan provides most of the necessary comic relief and delivers lines without a joke in a manner that makes you crack up and smile.
The production is brilliantly designed - with a uniform set which adapts to all of the locations used. The simplicity and adaptability of the four "scenic towers" used in the production is to be commended. Designer William Dudley has created a very unique and angular production design which fits the material perfectly.
The play is also being performed in the perfect setting - with the Royal Alexandra Theatre providing the perfect ambiance for a production such as this. Sadly, the music, composed by Dominic Muldowney provides little impact and sounds distant, as if coming out of a far away boom box. This however, is a small complaint which will certainly not hinder anyones overall enjoyment of a dazzling piece of theatre.
Tickets start at $49 and are available through June 1st at Mirvish.com.