By Sheila Martindale
Monday Magazine theatre reviewer
Kit Sandler’s Bang Bang is a very good play, and it is very well acted. It comes to the Belfry Theatre ready-made from the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, and has a lot to say about racial profiling, gender roles and who should be allowed to tell the stories that define us.
What begins as a monumental shouting match develops into a serious drama with enough humour to prevent it being totally depressing.
Tom Keenan has the role of the playwright who has written a play about a black police officer who shot and killed a black kid, who had acted suspiciously but who was actually unarmed. The script was about to be made into a movie, with a male (but almost androgynous) actor, played by Sébastien Heins, as the star.
Warona Setshwaelo does a great job as the real police officer’s mother, while Beverly Ndukwu is splendid as the actual (but now ex) police officer. This competent cast is rounded out by Alex Poch-Goldin playing the part of ex-cop-turned-security-officer, Tony Capello, who lightens the tone of the piece with his weird humour.
Poor Keenan is the punching bag of the piece who suddenly steps out of character and starts a tense stand-off against the rest of the characters on stage. And it is interesting that all five actors are on the stage for almost all of this two-hour play.
The set is lovely, thanks to Adam Parboosingh; in fact all the creative team as well as the actors, should be applauded for putting together a thought-provoking piece of theatre.
A warning for more sensitive audience members, the play includes a lot of yelling and stretches of repetitive coarse language.
Bang Bang runs at the Belfry until Nov. 24. For tickets call 250-385-6815 or visit belfry.bc.ca