Actors shine in SLT’s ‘Sylvia’

Comedy lampoons love, loyalty and dog ownership.

A scene from Sylvia

Author Kate DiCamillo once said “It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.” And that’s true of the title character in A. R. Gurney’s play, Sylvia.

Greg and Kate (Terry Thomas and Kate Bergen) are a couple of “empty nesters” who leave the suburbs behind to start a new chapter of their lives together in the big city. She’s looking to further her career in education while he’s becoming more complacent with his own finding any opportunity to take the afternoon off for long strolls in the park.

It’s during one of these sojourns that Greg comes across a lovable stray dog named Sylvia (Rebecca Strom) and the two instantly bond. But when Greg brings the dog home to their apartment, his wife takes an immediate dislike to the cursing canine and rattles off every good – and not so good – reason why they can’t possibly keep her. It doesn’t take long before this unusual love triangle gets the ultimate ultimatum – “it’s either her or me.”

Strom brings just the right mix of humor and pathos to her character and you immediately accept that suspension of disbelief that she is a dog and fully buy into it (even the sight of her on her knees at the end of a leash doesn’t let your mind wander into Ghomeshi territory, but rather her character’s canine obedience). Thomas and Bergen are strong as the couple and while he gets to test of the waters of different emotions she remains pretty constant in her irritation and later downright hatred of Sylvia – although this may be more the fault of Gurney’s script than Bergen’s performance. Also, maybe those who share her character’s opinions of man’s best friend may relate more to her than this reviewer did.

Kanchana Walberg, Bowen Munsil and Tim Driscoll round out the supporting cast. While Walberg and Munsil are quite capable in their minor roles, it’s community theatre veteran Driscoll who shines brightest. As fellow dog owner Tom, Driscoll earns some of the show’s biggest laughs as he shares his innate knowledge of dogs and the psychology of their owners.

Whether you’re a dog person or not, Sylvia is one mutt you could fall in love with.

Sylvia runs Thursday to Saturday until Nov. 15 (with a Sunday matinee Nov. 9) at the Surrey Little Theatre (7027 184th Street, Surrey). For reservations call 604-576-8451 or go to brownpapertickets.com.

– Michael Roberds

Just Posted

White Rock pier-plank purchasers celebrated

Donors received a certificate Sunday marking their purchase of a pier plank

Plans for new Surrey hospital to be updated Monday

News conference announced by Premier Horgan and health minister Adrian Dix

White Rock looking at 3.9% tax increase

Budget discussions are to take place this week

PHOTOS: White Rock Festival of Lights celebrated with a cheer

Hundreds of people gathered in the city Saturday for a Christmas event

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read