The Argus Review: Crees in the Caribbean

Magnus Theatre’s newest production has something for everyone

By: Ryley Fingler, Copy Editor

January 30, 2017 saw the opening of Drew Hayden Taylor’s Crees in the Caribbean at Magnus Theatre.

PC: By Magnus

Crees in the Caribbean tells the story of Cecil (Gary Farmer) and Evie (Marsha Knight), a Saskatchewan Cree couple travelling to Mexico for their 35th wedding anniversary. As it is their first time out of the country, Evie is eager to soak up all that the Caribbean climate has to offer – but Cecil isn’t quite as excited, preferring to mope around the hotel room instead. The story unfolds and the audience gets a taste of the couple’s past and present, as Cecil and Evie reminisce over the past 35 years of their lives and reflect on who they were and who they have become.

The show itself is very simplistic, with a three-person cast and a character driven plot line. Most of the action takes place within the walls of Cecil and Evie’s hotel room; the only other location that the audience gets to see is a quiet alleyway outside the resort’s kitchen. In this way, it is clear that the play isn’t about a couple’s exciting trip out of the country – it is about the growth of their own relationship, as well as the relationship they form with the hotel maid, Manuela (Julia Porter).

Each character in the play has a distinct and unique personality to bring to the table. Farmer’s portrayal of Cecil had the audience wheezing with laughter; his ability to perfectly capture the character’s development was intrinsic to the play and allowed audience to connect with his range of emotions. Evie, played by Marsha Knight, is the typical happy-go-lucky vacationer, constantly pushing her husband to let loose and enjoy their tropical getaway. The playful banter between the two, paired with the all too real disagreements and fights, give an honest and heart-wrenching insight to relationships.

A highlight of the play is the development of the relationship between the couple and their housekeeper. When the audience first meets Manuela, she is closed off and defensive. As Cecil and Evie’s vacation progresses, they get to know more about her own struggles and discover that they have more in common than they think.

The play is packed with wit and humour, but also packs an emotional punch. At the heart of Crees in the Caribbean is a commentary on the universality of human experiences from culture to culture; it shows the audience that people from all parts of the world can share similar stories and experiences. Love, loss, and laughter are important themes in the show, as well as the real fears surrounding issues of life, death, and aging.

Crees in the Caribbean runs until February 11 at Magnus Theatre.

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