"Twenty-Something Theatre displays a deft touch with this terpsichorean waltz of brutal words...director Tamara McCarthy happily has three solid actors to convincingly convey all this misery...Timothy Johnston's performance as Bobby is a marvel to behold. A confused kid who only wants to party has some sense slapped into him, but Johnston understands that Bobby didn't have much sense to begin with...Not to mention the playwright's gift for comedy, woven in to underscore everything. Katherine Gauthier gets to have a lot of fun with this yin-yang quality in Jill, who is both scary and hilarious...Since Tina's the one harbouring said bun-in-oven, Marlene Ginader digs deeper for a satisfyingly thorough understanding of her character's confusion...Tough! is well worth catching in its too-brief run." -- Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun
[FYI: terpsichorean = "of or relating to dance"]
"Marlene Ginader is very good as Tina. Her solid, grounded performance makes clear how genuinely tough Tina’s choices are and how complicated her feelings about Bobby remain...Katherine Gauthier’s hyper-intensity suits Jill well...Johnston’s sweet, vulnerable quality works nicely for Bobby’s unusual masculinity...See Tough! with someone from the opposite sex and prepare for a good argument afterwards." -- Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Province
"There’s some terrific work in Twenty Something Theatre’s production of Tough! Under Tamara McCarthy’s direction, Katherine Gauthier nails Jill’s nasty humour, and a great deal of the wariness and pain that inform it. On many levels, Timothy Johnston makes a lovely Bobby. There wasn’t a moment in which I didn’t buy his compassionate characterization, and his comic timing is terrific." -- Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight
This is tough material extremely well directed by Tamara McCarthy... Timothy Johnston’s Bobby is a mass of nerves. He shakes, slaps his head and sobs uncontrollably. We alternate—as does Tina—between wanting to give him a hug or a kick him in the butt. No question that Jill, Tina’s best friend, wants to beat the crap out of Bobby. She has, unaccountably, hated him since kindergarten. With long strides, index fingers pointed and a wicked glare, Katherine Gauthier’s Jill is downright scary. As Tina, Marlene Ginader is soft, conflicted, hurt and angry, but shows just enough of Tina’s strength to lead us to believe she will make it somehow...Tough! is 90 uninterrupted minutes of compelling drama" --Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier
"As the confused and somewhat naive Bobby, Timothy Johnston comes out of the gates with huge conviction. My front row seat gave me a clear sense of his vulnerability: trembling lip clearly holding back his fear coupled with a wide-eyed stare like the proverbial deer. Easily capturing Bobby’s internal struggle between rejecting Tina and a misguided sense of honour, Johnston also provides small reflections from Walker’s deeper pools. As he literally beats himself about his head trying to fully comprehend the predicament or curls up under the physical and emotional beating he takes, we know there is much more here than meets the eye...Walker repeats this multi-layered hue with best friend Jill as well. Here Katherine Gauthier must make us believe she is putting the fear of god into Bobby for the sake of her best friend Tina’s future and the future of the unborn child. However, just like Bobby, there is something more to her visceral reactions than perhaps the circumstances require... Tough! is as much about sucking it up and doing the right thing as it is about being strong in the face of life-changing circumstances." -- Mark Robins, GayVancouver.net
Only 3 more chances to check out Tough! by George F. Walker before it closes on Saturday. Tickets are still available online at Tickets Tonight or take your chances at the door.
Hope to see you out over the final weekend!!
(All photography by David Cooper)