Maggie and Pierre - Theater Review

Maggie and Pierre - Theater Review

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Maggie and Pierre is a one person show that chronicles the romance and tumultuous marriage between Margaret Sinclair, a flower child, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, who was thirty years her senior. The script is credited to Lydia Griffiths with Paul Thompson; it is gamely performed by Kaitlyn Riordan and briskly directed by Rob Kempson.

Maggie and Pierre is a very Canadian theatrical event, I use the word “event,” because it often feels more like a history lesson, a collection of vignettes and a recollection of pop culture, than an actual play. All one person plays face similar challenges; sustaining conflict, rising action, emotional escalation. Despite these challenges I have seen some great one person shows, two come to mind; I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright and Buyer and Cellar by Jonathan Tolins both presented riveting stories. Because most of the events in Maggie and Pierre took place over forty years ago and most of the scandal of the romance feels dated, or moot, or just insignificant and trite in the scope of real world problems, the play faces an uphill battle to keep audiences’ interest. Furthermore, Maggie, herself often seems frivolous.  This interest is even more challenging for American audiences. However, The Thousand Islands Playhouse’s audience is mainly Canadian.

My own personal taste aside, as always the TI Playhouse has stellar production values and actress Riordan is a deft, sly player; especially when portraying the charismatic, often spacey Margaret.  Faced with repetitive scenes of Maggie’s loopy behavior and free spirited zaniness, Riordan is always watchable. The set and lighting design are great too.

If you have a yearning for Canadian history or if the Trudeau romance is of particular interest to you, then by all means see Maggie and Pierre.  However if you are looking for a play, or a story with dramatic build and emotional resonance, you might want to shop elsewhere.

now playing through July 30

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