Dear Winnipeggers of Tumblr, be sure to take a break from your busy schedule doing whatever it is people in Winnipeg do to support the arts in our little city by seeing Theatre by the River’s productions of Cock and Bull, two great plays by Mike Bartlett.
British playwright Mike Bartlett is one of the better ones bumming around these days. He writes short, aggressive pieces that hit hard and fast. As someone with a short attention span, I appreciate that, and I have a suspicion that many of you agree. It’s okay if you don’t want to admit it, though.
I had never seen Bull before or even read the script, because despite being a playwright myself, I hate reading scripts. Scripts are boring! Down with scripts! Just watch TV! We’re in a golden age of television! But Bull is actually one of those rare scripts that reads as well as it plays. It’s about bullying in the workplace, and serves as a post-traumatic stress inducing reminder that adulthood is actually just like high school.
On the flippity flop,I have seen Cock multiple times before. It’s a fantastic, well-written play about human sexuality and I never get sick of it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Cock, and not just for the plethora of jokes and innuendo I can make about it.
Both productions are really solid, enjoyable, and good. There are no real weak links - all the actors are capable and do good things in their parts - but there are two people specifically that I gotta take a minute to gush over.
The director, Rodrigo Beilfuss, is secretly one of my favourite local theatre artists here in Winnipeg. Actually, I don’t think it’s a secret anymore. I think he follows my Instagram and knows all my secrets. I admire him because he’s the kind of man who can convert bowling shoes in to trendy every day casual shoes without seeming like he’s trying too hard, which is overwhelmingly impressive to me for some reason. He’s from Brazil, but trained in London, but lives in Winnipeg, and something about that combination of multicultural artistic sensibility is really refreshing to see in action. He’s awfully clever as a director, especially with the blocking and the use of the space, and he sets up a beautiful framework and foundation for the actors to come on in and do their thang.
Which brings me to this one actor in particular whom I have never seen in anything before or even heard of. His name is Karl Thordarson, and I don’t know anything about him so can’t give you some charming anecdotes here, sorry. I bet he’s super cool, though. And he’s just phenomenal, guys. He’s got fantastic hair and very expressive eyes. He gives Christian Bale American Psycho levels of intensity throughout Bull and made me empathize more with M in Cock than I ever had before. He’s on my list now. Good luck and Godspeed, Karl Thordarson, you’ve got yourself a fan.
Cock and Bull run in repertory until October 4th. These are two really strong productions of two really fab plays. Check out the schedule and buy some tickets HERE!