Salvatore Antonio is everywhere these days. He’s one of the three actors in Léo at Tarragon Theatre. He’s a regular on Ken Finkleman’s new series At the Hotel. And his first full-length play, In Gabriel’s Kitchen, opened last night at Buddies in Bad Times.
Torontoist recommends Léo, a taut one-act play by up-and-comer Rosa Laborde, wholeheartedly. Antonio is excellent as the title character, a charismatic poet caught in a love triangle and the currents of Chilean history; his co-stars Cara Pifko and Sergio Di Zio are equally excellent as the triangle’s equilateral sides, and Richard Rose drops some beautiful human geometry as director.
As for At the Hotel, Torontoist is intrigued. We watched the first episode this Tuesday and will tune in next Tuesday to see where Finkleman takes us in this strange six-part series. On the noirish show, Antonio plays a gossipy switchboard operator named Pablo; we hope there’s more of him in future episodes
Then, there’s In Gabriel’s Kitchen, a play about a tight-knit Italian family trying to come to grips with the suicide of their gay son… Well… Um…
Can you tell we’re trying to couch the criticism? The truth is this: Torontoist is somewhat baffled at how this two-and-a-half hour play ended up on stage in this shape. We know what plays, first plays written in theatre school, are like. And we know why they are supposed to stay in theatre school
We won’t blame the cast. And we will only partially blame Antonio. The bulk of the blame has to fall of on David Oiye who, as Buddies artistic director, programmed a play that was not ready for primetime and who, as director of In Gabriel’s Kitchen, let it get on stage full of inconsistencies, awkward chronology, uncertain characters and rambling dialogue. We’re about to go off on a rant about how new Canadian plays are constantly killed by local theatres supposedly dedicated to new work, because they’re put on too soon and with too little workshop and rehearsal time… If you really want to hear that rant, though, we’re at the bar.
On the whole, Torontoist stresses, it has been a good month for Salvatore Antonio.
In Gabriel’s Kitchen runs until March 26 at Buddies in Bad Times.
Léo runs until March 19. Go see it!