BWW Review: LET'S RUN AWAY is a Moving Look at Life and Legacy
LET'S RUN AWAY's premise is simple enough: a man reads through his late birth mother's memoir, or at least, reads the few parts about him. The simplicity of it gives way to the puzzles scattered throughout their interactions, and the deeply personal take on the concept is what makes the story - and his redactions - so intriguing.
From the moment he steps onstage, Peter (Daniel MacIvor) is a big personality. He sets various items around the set - a beat-up denim jacket, a very valuable bass guitar, a wireless speaker, and a photograph of a cat are all utilized to expand on his mother's memories. But it's at the two lecterns, each on opposite sides of the space, and each with their own reading material, where the story of Peter and his late mother starts to unravel. As MacIvor rotates between the memoir and the journal, more and more is revealed about Peter's life; first with the unnamed mother's perspective, and then in greater detail once Peter's side of the story comes forth.
To say MacIvor is magnetic onstage would be an understatement. It's impossible to look away from him, and he is completely believable as Peter; if an audience member wasn't too sure about what they were walking into, they could very well assume that Peter and his story is fact. It's because of the care and attention to detail that MacIvor injects into the character and the storytelling that LET'S RUN AWAY is so unassumingly gripping - you almost don't realize how much you care about Peter's story until something shifts, and you're suddenly hit with emotion.
Any one-man show presents its own challenges, but under direction of Daniel Brooks, LET'S RUN AWAY embraces those challenges and, well, runs with them. Ongoing light and sound cue 'issues' (lighting by Kimberly Purtell, sound by Deanna H. Choi) creates a character out of the unseen, unheard operator; not only is the plot point used for comedic effect, but it also reveals bits of Peter's personality. The story is littered with puzzles and circular ideas, and while nothing is fully revealed or explained, the "a-ha!" moments are incredibly satisfying when they do happen.
Whether he's recounting the haunting details of a bad childhood encounter with a cat, lighting up the stage with a one-man mosh pit, or lip syncing to Virginia Woolf, MacIvor makes you care about Peter. The story doesn't shy away from difficult subjects, but rather confronts them in an extremely human manner. Even with the dramatic narrative, LET'S RUN AWAY proves that even amidst difficult scenarios and questions of morality, the simplest actions and words often ring the truest - a welcome reminder in a world that seems to get more complicated and more isolated every day.
Canadian Stage's LET'S RUN AWAY runs through November 17 at the Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, Toronto ON.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.canadianstage.com/online/default.asp?doWork::WScontent::loadArticle=Load&BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::article_id=887BDEE7-3B27-4EB1-85F4-DBA0A53E36CB
Photo courtesy of Canadian Stage