Monday 2 June 2014

The Last Confession - Play Review

Something I absolutely love, is going to the theatre! Luckily, Toronto has an awesome theatre district. The Mirvish group put on a ton of amazing shows each year – many of which can be found playing on Broadway. Toronto also has a great smaller theatre community that tends to put on shows like Rent, Avenue Q, Rocky Horror, and Evil Dead the Musical. There is literally something for everyone in the Toronto Theatre scene.

Mirvish shows are the ones I tend to gravitate towards, and for awhile I had a subscription. Their subscription program is fantastic, as you get to see a full line of up of shows for a year, along with a bunch of perks like discounts on parking/restaurants, and the ability to reschedule if you are unable to make a performance. Some of the Mirvish shows I have seen in the last few years are – The Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, Wicked, Chess, Bring it On, Young Frankenstein, Legally Blonde, Pricilla Queen of the Desert, and a few others.  

Last year when Nanny and I went to see Anything Goes, she mentioned wanting to see The Last Confession a play that was part of the 2014/2015 lineup. I kept this in mind, and when it came time for Mothers Day, that was the gift I selected for her.

I bought us both tickets for the last show, which was a Sunday matinee. On the day of the play, there was a bunch of work being done along the main highways into the city along with numerous events along the Go Train line, so mom generously used a car credit she had so we could have a smoother ride down. Nanny isn’t exactly a fan of driving into the city, and the trains were going to be packed.

The Last Confession is a play based around the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978, after his 33-day reign. It takes elements of fact, and merges them with wide-spread speculation from the time, as well as some fictional elements to create a powerful drama about the inner workings of the Vatican. It portrays some of the actual Cardinals and Vatican officials as being power-hungry and desperate to hold onto their beliefs, rather then change with the times.  

The main star was David Suchet who portrayed Cardinal Benelli, and he made the play. The depth of his acting was phenomenal – and he brought so much to the story. The portrayal of Pope John Paul I, reminded me so much of Pope Francis, and some of the opinions and views he has recently expressed. While 1978 was before my time, based on this portrayal, I imagine things

in the Catholic Church could have been much different in recent years, if he hasn’t passed away so suddenly.

In all honesty, I went to The Last Confession mainly for Nanny. While the play seemed interesting, it wasn’t one I would pick myself, and I tend to prefer musicals. However, I was pleasantly surprised and how much I enjoyed it. It was a riveting story, with a fantastic cast. It’s unfortunate I saw it on the last day, because it is one I would have recommended to a number of people.

If this play returns, I would suggest seeing it – especially if David Suchet is starring it in again.

Below is a review from the Toronto Star: