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In Seven Days

Jordi Mand Navigates Family and Faith in Comedy About Death Reviewed by Eden Eidt Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is a prevalent and heavily debated topic, raising complex questions surrounding ethics, religion, and how to make these difficult decisions. Jordi Mand, the playwright, is an award-winning writer, recognized for her work in theatre, film, and television. Her play, In Seven Days, has just had its world premiere on the Spriet Stage at the Grand Theatre in London. The story centres a Jewish-Canadian family as they respond to the patriarch’s decision to end his own life in a week because of the progression of his illness. The characters draw upon many recognizable stereotypes present within a modern family—including the beloved older father, Sam (Ron Lea), and his micro-managing younger girlfriend, Shelley (Mairi Babb), who serves as the rejected stepmother of the unapproving and strong-willed daughter, Rachel (Shaini Silver-Baird). Matters get even more complicated when Rachel’s DJ ex-boyfriend, Eli, (Ralph Small) shows up at the family home, causing the couple to question if things are really over. Mand’s dialogue is fast-paced, witty, and evokes many knowing chuckles from the crowd through common family mishaps and specific references to aspects of Jewish culture (sesame bagels… noted!). Director Philip Akin aptly steeps a homeyness throughout the production that facilitates a touching sense of shared experience between the story and its audience. Though every actor contributes to the many heartfelt moments on stage, a special mention goes to Ron Lea for his natural, convincing performance as an ailing, yet grounded, Sam. One of the highlights of the production is a hyper-realistic set that is a carbon copy of an upper-middle class home in the more mature suburbs of London, Ontario. The level of detail is uncannily familiar and creates an intimate atmosphere that makes the ...
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Mary's Musings

Entertain This Thought – Celebrating 20 Years!

So, 20 years ago (February 2004) Thomas Alderson and I went to New York City for the first time – we saw Gypsy with Bernadette Peters, Wicked with Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, which was supposed to be starring Sutton Foster (the main purpose of the trip!) but as luck would have it, she was off that night! We analyzed those shows so thoroughly that it got me interested in writing theatre reviews. So I’m celebrating 20 years of theatre reviews on Entertain This Thought. Now, exactly 20 years later, Thomas is back in New York City, a trip that he usually makes twice a year. I’ve been fortunate enough to accompany him several times over the past 20 years, and once Victor came along, too. He saw Sutton Foster in Once Upon a Mattress.  He reports that Sutton gave a big nod to Carol Burnett who originated the role of Princess Winnifred, even doing a Carol-style yodel! I asked Thomas how many times he’s seen Sutton Foster in lead roles, after the ill-fated trip 20 years ago when we missed her.  He sent me this list: Young Frankenstein, Shrek, Anything Goes, Sweet Charity, Violet, The Music Man (I saw this one with Thomas – she was Marion with Hugh Jackman as The Music Man 2022), and now, Once Upon a Mattress. Entertain This Thought – Celebrating 20 years of theatre reviews and more!    
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