Review: THE SWEARING JAR Opens at Edmonton's Walterdale Theatre

Performances run through Apri 27.

By: Apr. 20, 2024
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When Carey and Simon discover they’re going to be parents, they decide to kick their swearing habit once and for all. However, as the days pass and their swearing jar fills up, Simon becomes emotionally distant from his concerned wife. Soon, their lives are overshadowed by a devastating event that leaves Carey questioning their entire relationship.

After winning the Best of Fringe Award at the 2008 Toronto Fringe Festival, The Swearing Jar went on to earn other prestigious accolades including Outstanding New Play at the New York International Fringe Festival. It was later adapted into a 2022 film directed by Lindsay MacKay and received three nominations at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards. Now, audiences can experience this humorous and heartbreaking production at Edmonton’s Walterdale Theatre until April 27.

The curtain rises on Carey (Lita Pater) and her close friend, Owen (Colin Stewart), who are performing a concert celebrating Simon’s (Kingsley Leung’s) 40th birthday. Soon, the scene changes to Carey and Simon’s living room, where the couple banters, bickers, and brainstorms potential baby names. Yet, as the days pass, an inexplicable tension simmers between them. Simon begins spending much of his time lying on the living room couch, evading Carey’s concern. This fraught dynamic is further exacerbated when Simon’s irritable mother, Bev (Cathy Morse), comes to visit.

The show alternates between the couple’s domestic life to Carey’s conversations with a charming bookstore employee, Owen. As the first act progresses, Carey and Owen’s acquaintanceship quickly blossoms into something more; it isn’t until the second act that these two different narratives become cohesive. The script explores every emotion from joy to anger to resentment, all of which the four-person cast masterfully portrays.

Sprinkled throughout are musical interludes from Carey and Owen’s concert, the songs’ lyrics adding further depth to Carey’s character and her relationship with Simon. These time shifts take place on opposite sides of the intimate stage; Joan Hawkins’ stationary set depicts Carey and Simon’s living room on one side and the bookstore where Owen works on the other. The concert scenes take place in the foreground, placing Carey at the intersection of her life before and after Simon’s secret is revealed.

Both heart-wrenching and hopeful, The Swearing Jar is a production that audiences won’t soon forget. 

Image Credit: Walterdale Theatre 


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