Nothing ugly about the Ibsen, just the service
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Nothing ugly about the Ibsen, just the service

Let us start by saying Soulpepper’s mounting of The Wild Duck is uh, mighty. Terrific writing, effective staging and thoughtful performances, including a star-making turn by Martha MacIsaac. All this and a venti cupful of spit — a sure sign the actors are empassioned about their roles. We’ll leave more in-depth criticism to the experts except to say this play had to be great to make up for the otherwise miserable experience we had at Harbourfront. Plenty has been written about bad cellphone etiquette (the worst case we’ve encountered had to be at a screening of War of the Worlds in which the offender didn’t just forget to turn off his phone or tell the caller he’d call them back — he actually carried on a conversation), so when the inevitable ring came, we weren’t surprised. Nothing could prepare us, however, for the full plot summary, including the ending, we overheard while in line for coffee at intermission. As Hecubus from the old Kids in The Hall skits would say — Evil! And speaking of intermissions, why do theatres sell concessions only Takeru Kobayashi could ingest in the time they give you? Suggestions. How about this or this? Worst of all, we discovered when you are late by a few minutes, your punishment is to miss the entire first act. Now we don’t want to go all Alvie Singer here, but if you miss two scenes of a 10-scene play, aren’t you missing some pretty crucial development? When we inquired about getting tickets to a future performance instead, the box-office attendant looked at us as if we were speaking Norwegian. Fine, how about sneaking quietly up to some lesser but less-disturbing balcony seats? Nope. Instead, we were herded into a lightless, soundless waiting room, where we stood until the appropriate music cue. If only we’d brought our cellphone, we could have had a conversation to pass the time.