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    …And Then the Lights Went Out – A Stage West Review

    stage west pic

    That, I believe, is the best way to describe this well thought out production at Stage West.

    Written by local Albertan playwright Andy Garland, this story takes us through a couple days in the life of a writer who is stuck on his latest novel. Thomas Levine’s Mike Hammer style detective is stuck limbo between writer’s block and a deadline and a heatwave.

    Set in Edmonton during the summer the heat’s not just coming from the looming deadline, but his landlord, an attractive neighbour and the characters playing out on stage as they come to life and try to help Thomas put together a hit novel.

    It truly is a play within a play as you see tough detective Jim O’Reilly come to life and narrate parts of this story from within Thomas’s rundown apartment in a highly entertaining over the top style. Then you bounce back to Thomas’s interactions with his landlady, his neighbour and his characters, often with hilarious overlap.

    All the requisite parts are here, the femme fatale, the manipulative kingpin, the henchman and even the feisty assistant and they all come together with just the right blend of bouncing from different ideas that come up to Thomas as he struggles to come up with a compelling storyline to the feedback from the characters as they try to help.

    Like any exciting detective story we also have gunfights, car crashes and fist fights, so if you don’t like loud noises you may not like some of this. Some unexpected gunshots caused more than just me to jump in their seats!

    Broken into two acts I enjoyed myself throughout and although it had many tense moments for both the detective and the author, it was also full of fun and comedic moments that had the whole audience laughing.

    If you’re looking for a fun night out, this production gets a positive from me and I’d say it’s one of if not the most entertaining show I’ve attended at Stage West in the last several years.