by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Alan Dilworth, Aaron Willis, and Mitchell Cushman
Featuring: Maev Beaty, Mayko Nguyen,
Cyrus Lane and Jordan Pettle
and Julie Tepperman
Presented by Outside the March, Convergence Theatre,
Sheep No Wool and Crow’s Theatre
Outside the March Production Webpage

Reviewed by Robin Breon

The Toronto premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play is a welcome addition to the city’s independent theatre production movement which is currently outpacing some of the older and somewhat stodgy ‘theatres with buildings’  (for lack of a better descriptive term) that may have seniority in years but not necessarily creative thinking and the fearlessness of youth which is what puts the passion into this play.

Structured in three acts, the first of which takes place in a public park and the last two in a local church, the plot depicts the acting of a passion play envisioned from the mystery cycles as performed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (The Virgin Queen), the evolution to Germany’s Oberammergau during the rise of Adolph Hitler in the 1930s and finally settling in on the Americanized version of the same play in South Dakota during the presidency of Ronald Regan. 

Maev Beaty triples as Elizabeth, Hitler and Regan, a theatrical hat trick if there ever was one, and pulled off with great aplomb. Other standouts include the wonderfully talented Mayko Nguyen, Cyrus Lane and Jordan Pettle. Splitting up the directing responsibilities in seamless fashion is Alan Dilworth, Aaron Willis, and Mitchell Cushman. An extraordinarily ambitious project that would have been beyond the artistic and financial means of one company, this group of dedicated theatre pros proves beyond any doubting Thomas that miracles can happen.

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