Heidi Damayo (Thai) and Andrew McNee (Mustard) star in Mustard by Kat Sandler, running Oct. 25 through Nov. 25 at The Belfry Theatre. Photos by Mark Halliday

REVIEW: Belfry’s latest offering leaves bad taste in the mouth

Mustard loud and overbearing, ruins good story bones, writes reviewer Sheila Martindale

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine contributor

The set for The Belfry Theatre’s production of Mustard is beautiful and functional, the acting is superb, the timing perfect.

The lead actor, Andrew McNee, really threw himself into the part and you could see the sweat practically dripping off him almost the whole time. The opening night audience was wildly enthusiastic. Perfect, right?

Yes, except for the fact that the volume was much louder than anyone should have to endure for almost two hours straight without an interval. Except for the tiresome and repetitive use of the F word. Except for the gratuitous violence provided by two Nazi-like characters, complete with the pulling out of fingernails and teeth. If there was some charm in the whimsical tale, it was completely ruined by this nasty aspect.

In short, this play by Kat Sandler – winner of the Dora Mavor Moore award for outstanding new play – was an assault on the senses as well as on the intelligence.

The story is actually OK – a rebellious teenager, an absent father, a mother not coping and a large ‘imaginary friend’ who has outstayed his welcome and is reluctant to leave. The fact this friend looks uncannily like the husband and father who left no doubt has a bearing on the story. Which seems to go further and further downhill as it wends its excruciatingly painful way to the end.

Had I not been reviewing, and had there been an interval, I would have left the theatre before I was completely deafened and dispirited. But, as I said, other people appeared to enjoy it immensely, so maybe my sense of humour had taken a temporary leave of absence.

The Belfry does not have to descend to the level of the lowest common denominator; I hope we can return to more civilized shows in better taste – soon!

Tickets for Mustard, on until Nov. 25, are available online at belfry.bc.ca or by calling 250-385-6815.

Just Posted

Getting OUT with Intrepid Theatre

OUTstages queer theatre festival features packed week of entertainment for fifth anniversary

Vic High theatre staging musical class struggle tale

Cry Baby a love story and social commentary piece presented with campy style

Readers Theatre returns to Congregation Emanu-El

Audience members encouraged to envision plays’ actions from hearing scripts

The Trojan Women and their ancient story coming to Phoenix Theatre

UVic theatre department to stage Euripedes’ Greek tragedy about the aftermath of war

Royal BC Museum’s newest series takes visitors behind the scenes

Adult sessions explores art, nature, history and more

VIDEO: RBCM’s Wonder Sunday brings fossils into focus

Every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. kids learn about science and history through interactive activities

Reflections of Ladysmith: The Art of Michael Dean

Work, place and people are inseparable for Vancouver Island painter

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Sidney Museum’s Lego Exhibition larger than ever

Hundreds of thousands of pieces on display in creations big and small, now through March 31

2019 Canadian Whisky Awards’ big winners announced

Awards held in conjunction with Victoria Whisky Festival

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Most Read