| May 18, 2006

Feature Article - May 18, 2006

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Feature Article - May 18, 2006

Black Comedy at Sydenham HighSchool

by Wilma Kenny

Black comedy walks a difficult line, finding humour in grim and sensitive places. Sydenham High’s production of Dearly Departed tackled death, disintegrating relationships, religion, aging, infirmity and personal failure, and still managed to keep the audience laughing.

What high school drama group can resist a play in which the principal’s cameo appearance has him dropping dead in the first scene? Bruce Marchen, though perhaps not yet ready for Hollywood , deserves full credit for his brief star turn as the father whose funeral finally brings the eccentric but somehow familiar Turpin family more or less together.


The large cast played off each other with energy, obvious enjoyment and surprisingly good southern accents. Some of the highlights: Adrian Murray’s airband rendition of "Highway to Hell", Emily Bashall’s rants at the invisible back seat children, and Steven Michels’ turns as a longsuffering preacher with an excellent back-up choir singing gospel. Jessica Roberts expertly handled the difficult role of ‘Delightful’, who was on stage for long stretches of time with no dialogue, by hilariously eating her way through every bit of food she could get her hands on, while her huge eyes followed the rest of the family racing through their lives. Tom Glassco stood out in a convincing and touching performance as a son grieving his father’s death, while trying to cope with the chaos around him.

The program booklet, with its sly inclusion of fictional ads, was a final bonus in an entertaining evening.

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