Graceland
by Ellen Byron
Shoestring Players - Winnipeg, MB
V.10 - Planetarium 
Two female fan(atic)s of Elvis await admission into Graceland. Their rivalry for "most devoted fan" morphs into something deeper. As they tell their sometimes humorous stories, each reveals the extent of the drama and gender-based oppression in her life and the consequences of her own life choices. "Genuine, touching and evocative" Shoestring's Fringe hits include: Waiting for the Parade, Flannery's Ocean, Quilters and The Dining Room.

 
Show Info:
60 Mins
Tickets: $12
$10 Matinees, Students, Seniors, Fringe Performers

Genre:
Play-Dramedy

Audience:
Parental Guidance

No warnings

Thu July 18 3:30 PM
Fri July 19 1:30 PM
Sat July 20 5:15 PM
Sun July 21 8:15 PM
Tue July 23 8:30 PM
Thu July 25 7:00 PM
Fri July 26 1:30 PM
Sat July 27 3:30 PM

Graceland

Shoestring Players—Planetarium

Two Elvis super fans compete to be first in line for the grand opening of Graceland, the famous home of the legendary King of Rock and Roll. The characters had an entertaining arc from hating to understanding and supporting each other. Two talented women from different generations complimented each other well. It was touching and funny and everything you would expect a solid two person play with strong writing and acting to be. Worth seeing, but if you are a die hard Elvis fanatic it is not even optional.

Adam Kirk


Graceland

Shoestring Players—Planetarium

I was delighted to be able to attend the opening performance of Graceland and would like to share my experience with Jenny readers, as it was entirely different from that of the first reviewer.

From the moment Laura Harrison (Rootie) and Merri-Lou Patterson (Bev) hit the stage, fireworks sparked. These two experienced actors took control of the audience and kept us (most of us) in thrall for the next 50 minutes. Ellen Byron’s script cleverly manipulated our affiliations with Bev and Rootie, first guiding us to relate slightly more to Bev’s position, despite her crass behaviour, and then shocking us with the poignant story of Rootie.

These two actors are amazing. Every one of their moves, grandiose or miniscule, was clear, intentional, and revealing. Not only are they to be commended for their performances but also the director, Maureen Taggert, for making the most of these two impressive thespians.

In the spirit of the statement that “There are no small parts…,” I would also like to acknowledge the brief but nonetheless effectively realistic performance by Connor Hopper as the radio announcer.

In response to the first reviewer, yes, there is an ending, with a clear revelation of who won the contest. I won’t reveal it here because I don’t wish to be a spoiler. Graceland is a tight, cohesive, superbly directed and acted production. I highly recommend it.

Sharon Hamilton


Graceland

Shoestring Players—Planetarium

I would love to give you a reason to go see this, but I can’t. It’s not bad, but not rewarding either. It’s biggest flaw is the lack of a conclusion, which could have redeemed this show; and made it into something I could recommend. The fault lies not with the actors, but the script by Ellen Byron. It’s a two woman show, with Merri-Lou Patterson being entirely capable, skilled and charming. Laura Harrison flubbed many lines but recovered immediately and professionally. This was the first performance, so I will give that as her excuse. Both women did a fine job of developing their vastly different characters into people you could like, and relate to. The props were used to great effect, especially the wig and pillow. But in the end, this was a waste of time and talent. A shame.

The story flows nicely along but comes to a confusing, abrupt, dead stop. I had so many questions, and the ending made no sense because there was none. I was not the only one who felt bewildered. Everyone I talked to after the show, which ended 10 minutes early, said the same thing. The program asks how we feel about the end result, but there is none to react to. Why did Bev take and leave what she did, where did she go, and who won the contest? Too many questions and no answers. My main question is why did I go?

Lisa Campbell