A brilliant production: Same Time, Next Year now playing at UCP

Viviana Zarrillo and Nigel Hamer as Doris and George in ‘Same Time, Next Year’ at the Upper Canada Playhouse. (Supplied photo)

MORRISBURG – Two young people newly married, but not to each other, find solace in a chance encounter at a hotel. What was to be a one-time affair, evolved into one filled with emotion, laughter, and a few tears.

That is the plot of ‘Same Time, Next Year’ by playwright Bernard Slade, which opened last week at the Upper Canada Playhouse.

This production stars Viviana Zarrillo as Doris, and Nigel Hamer as George. Doris is a young Catholic wife on a “retreat” for the weekend away from her husband and three young kids.

George, also young and married with three kids, is an accountant visiting the hotel for the weekend to do the bookkeeping. The pair meet in the hotel restaurant and fall into a weekend tryst. The pair continues the affair, agreeing to meet once a year on the same weekend.

The audience sees glimpses of the pair’s affair at regular four or five year intervals where the bond between Doris and George swings from being a physical affair to emotional support for each other.

Zarrillo’s portrayal of Doris packs the right amount of charisma and confidence on the stage while Hamer’s version of George is authentic with the right amount of goofy when needed.

The play covers a 24-year span in their unorthodox relationship. The audience sees how both characters grow and mature into their mid-to-late 40’s and the emotional bond that grows between them. Each becomes the other’s support to get them through the difficulties in their own marriages for the other 363 days of the year.

Director Jesse Collins’ smart set design and staging helps guide the audience to where the play is in the time-line of the 24-year affair. Moving through years can be hard to follow, but the transitions in audio/visual display are both subtle, and nostalgic. Each change sets the tone for that stop in the affair.

‘Same Time, Next Year’ already was a brilliant, witty comedy. This production takes this play to the next level.

The show runs until September 29th.

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