Saturday, May 5, 2012

Theatre In Review: Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story (A Letter to...)

Dear Theoren,

Last night I attended the opening of Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story, the play based on your book of the same name, at Alberta Theatre Projects. You weren't there so I decided  to drop you a line and just let you know what you missed - cause I am thoughtful like that.

It was a one man show, as you probably already know. The guy who played you, Shaun Smyth, wasn't your doppelganger, but he portrayed what I assume you came off like in your book. Cocky as all hell, pretty angry and a mess. Did he get it right?

I am not gonna lie, I didn't read your book. But whenever it comes up so does the Graham James I was concerned that the whole play was going to be this super serious production about how getting molested screwed you up. Not that that doesn't warrant stage time, it's just not a topic I would like to sit through for two hours. Thank God your book covered your whole life.

It started with Heather Liscano (Calgary Flames official anthem singer) singing O Canada while the entire audience, half adorned in Flames jerseys, stood. I never thought I'd see the day when a theatre doubled as a Sea of Red. Then Smyth came on the stage and said, "If I f-ck this up I could lose the game."  ...I must say, you swear a lot. And you liked to was pretty hilarious to see the one man show 'fight clubbing' himself on stage. Major props.

Speaking of the stage, I am not sure if you know that it was a small hockey rink with synthetic ice. So the fake you was skating around on it the whole time telling stories, reenacting big goals and, as I said, hockey brawls.The costume changes were done on stage in the form of one jersey to the next. Which makes sense as hockey was the steady throughout your whole life.

I think the creators of this show did a good job putting snippets of your life and book onto the stage.  I think your fans will really enjoy it even if they hate theatre, theatre fans will like it because it seems cutting edge and Calgarians will enjoy it because it will bring them back to the one time in history when the Flames were able to bring the cup home. (Will it EVER happen again? TELL ME THEO!).

So if you didn't go because you thought they would botch your life, you are wrong. They made me like you, hate you and feel genuinely sad for the misgivings of your life. I could see why maybe you wouldn't want to see it...but take it on good authority (mine) that it killed. KILLED.

Verdict: 4.3 Stars

Playing with Fire is now on stage at Alberta Theatre Projects until May 19. Tickets start at $28.50. Get them here


PS. I also noticed that they used a lot of footage from former games on the jumbotron...and the King of the World scene from Titanic when telling the story of you working out in a cabin while listening to Celine Dion. Very bad ass Fleury. Anyways, I mention this because...did they get permission to use the footage? And the Titanic? For some reason I find it highly unlikely that Team Cameron would let anyone use this without a hefty price. Don't be surprised if you see in the news "Theo Fleury play gets sued"...but that wouldn't be close to the worst thing that you have been associated with would it? Didn't think so.

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