Yoshié Bancroft (Sabine) and Matthew Edison (Griffin) star in Griffin & Sabine, an adaptation of Nick Bantock’s book series being staged by the Belfry Theatre. Photo by David Cooper

REVIEW: Journey enjoyable, destination elusive with Griffin and Sabine

Monday reviewer Sheila Martindale offers up her take on latest Belfry Theatre production

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine contributor

The language in the Belfry Theatre’s production of Griffin and Sabine is beautiful: lyrical and poetic. The acting is superb and the projected images are stunning.

The whole play is quite riveting, but the meaning, however, is unclear.

A woman living on an island in the South Pacific writes to an artist in London, England, telling him she can see his pictures as he draws and paints them, and asking him about his life and work. Puzzled, he replies, and soon they set up a regular correspondence across the globe, falling in love as they do so. They plan to meet, but it does not happen. She goes to London, but he takes off before she gets there. She stays in his studio, but there is no evidence of her ever being there. He comes back, and it looks as if they are in the same place, but they don’t see each other.

They continue to write letters in graceful language. A force of evil appears, determined to keep them apart. Other minor characters float in and out.

So the question is, what is this? A dream? A figment of the imagination? An allegory? An unfulfilled yearning for love or friendship?

We may never know. Perhaps those who have read this book series by Nick Bantock have a better understanding of the play, adapted for the stage by the author and the Belfry’s Michael Shamata, who directs it.

In the end it does not really matter. We may not know the destination, but we are taken on a wonderful and heartfelt journey. The two principal characters, played by Matthew Edison and Yoshie Bancroft, deliver amazing performances, ably supported by Benedict Campbell, Iris MacGregor Bannerman and Erin Ormand.

The whole thing is wonderfully put together. So do go and be carried away by the moving whimsy of Griffin and Sabine. Tickets are available online at belfry.bc.ca or by calling 250-385-6815.

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The set contributes greatly to the telling of the story in Griffin and Sabine, on now at the Belfry Theatre. Photo by David Cooper

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