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 conflicts within the household feel realistic. The bright lighting typically used throughout the show illuminates every tension, leaving the characters with few places to hide their secrets from their family.

While the concept for the play itself intrigued me, especially in the wake of discussions that still occur surrounding MAID to this day, the plot’s twists and turns were often predictable and occasionally left me feeling as if I had seen a similar production before.

These minor critiques aside, In Seven Days engages in an important conversation through heartfelt moments created by strong direction and a skilled cast. The production has an impressive ability to translate universal family experiences on stage while it traverses the nuances of the complicated issue it examines.

In Seven Days continues with eight shows a week at the Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond Street, London, Ontario until March 2. Call the box office at (519) 672-8800 or visit for tickets.

Photo: Shaina Silver-Baird as Rachel, Mairi Babb as Shelley, and Ron Lea as Sam in In Seven Days. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

In Seven Days
By Jordi Mand
Directed by Philip Akin
Performed by Mairi Babb, Ron Lea, Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, Shaina Silver-Baird, Ralph Small.
Grand Theatre, 471 Richmond Street, London, Ontario
February 13 to March 2, 2024
Reviewed by Eden Eidt


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