December 16, 2021

SCENE | 'Tis the Season for Conflict – Mitch and Murray's 'Snowflake'

"So how racist are you then?"
Mitch and Murray Productions | 'Snowflake' by Mike Bartlett | Aaron Craven Natasha Burnett Jennifer Copping | Redgate Revue Stage, Granville Island
Aaron Craven / Photo credit | Shimon Karmel
Granville IslandMitch and Murray Productions, so-named after the company in Glengarry Glen Ross, presents the North American premiere of the acclaimed holiday stage play, Snowflake, written by Olivier Award-winning British playwright Mike Bartlett. A searing yet deeply comic seasonal drama about generational divides, father/daughter conflict, and polarizing opinions, this lively staging is a remarkably entertaining yet emotional performance.

Directed by M&M Artistic Associate Jennifer Copping, the bold play starts with an extended one-act monologue impressively delivered by Artistic Director Aaron Craven who stars as Andy, a sad sack widower estranged from his college-aged daughter, on a lonely Christmas Eve in Oxfordshire, England. Where the play goes in terms of its tricky or complex topics and politically murky depth is surprising but so very revealing.

Ping-ponging back and forth between arguments about race, class, gender, and economics, the one then two (enter Natasha Burnett) then three-person (and Anni Ramsay) stage play is dominated by such intense ambition. Your knowledge of European political culture and the complexities of Brexit will be challenged as Bartlett's script really goes for it. Difficult conversations and years-worth of therapeutic breakthroughs are fired off with a casual wit thanks to the three fine performances.

Mitch and Murray's production of Snowflake overflows with a certain kind of dramatic warmth despite its thematic thorniness. Its sharp dialogue about intergenerational divisions is so thoughtfully triggering, not only in dialogue but also, in its measured delivery. Copping's careful direction anchored by Craven's tempered but emotionally earnest starring performance makes it entirely worth seeing despite its intentional discomfort—frequently interrupted with boisterous laughs from its ironic humour.

Snowflake runs until December 23rd on stage at the Red Gate Revue Stage.

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