The Peeled I, a play on the life of Robertson Davies, debuted at Hart House last week. It explored a plethora of hot topics in academia through the humour and wit of Robertson Davies’ works and experiences.
K. Reed Needles, the one-man-star of this one-man show, offered a sharp performance exploring the human experience of the academic world, delivering a witty script by playwright John Krisak. The script had a subtle humour and successfully avoided crossing into dangerously esoteric territory. Theatre-goers could expect to be intellectually stimulated by a performance that was part lecture, part stand-up, but all goodness.
While Krisak walked a dangerous line in a segment on religion and science, he managed to handle the debate adequately. Other topics, such as education, literature, mass media and karma were delightfully discussed with a great laugh-out-loud response from the audience. Even well-read spectators were met with the pleasure of listening to things one already knows. Overrall, it was edu-tainment at its best.
The stage design was minimalist, making Needle’s speech the main attraction. He was able to act out a variety of colourful characters, in a Russell Peters style, only with a lot more class. Needle’s interpretation of Davies voice was silky smooth, like Morgan Freeman, even if I didn’t understand a thing he said just listening to him talk would have been pleasure enough.
For those like me who had no idea who Robertson Davies was, the show was both entertaining and enlightening.