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Monday, 6 August 2012

Review: Plummer Mesmerizes with A Word or Two

Christopher Plummer. Photo by David Hou.

A Word or Two
Written, arranged and performed by Christopher Plummer
Directed by Des McAnuff

There is something to be said for hearing stories and poetry read aloud, especially by a voice as rich, resonant and emotive as Christopher Plummer. Be it Robert Service or Stephen Leacock, lauding a love of reading should always be celebrated.

On the other hand, the stories and snippets chosen by Christopher Plummer are mostly from a classical canon of days gone by. Where is the Atwood, the Urquhart, the Vissanji, the Ondaatje? Or even the Patterson or the Evanovich? Indeed any author published in the last couple of decades would do. A love of reading does not have to be  - should not be - confined to canonical authors.

Christopher Plummer. Photo by David Hou.
On the other hand, this particular classical actor has earned a right to be indulged, and to share his love of the classics of more colonial times. Plus, he has the same right to be nostalgic as any of us ordinary mortals.

On the other hand, he laments the danger the twitterverse poses to his beloved words, as if our language has always been set in stone. Yet language is living, a constantly evolving thing. Kind of ironic that he misses that fact, given he quotes from Shakespeare, a guy who made up and introduced over 1500 words into his beloved English language (or 1700 or 3000 - academics still argue over the exact number).

Thanks to Mr. Dave Kellett for permission to use his art.

Oh well. It is Christopher Plummer, and whether quoting or reciting, in or out of a character (it was sometimes hard to tell), he is arguably the greatest living Shakespearean actor of our time. So while he indulges his love for the classical words which influenced him, we can indulge in our admiration for the man and his craftsmanship. (Especially when he presents so suave a devil from Shaw's A Man and Superman... one might wish he and the play would be on next season's playbill.) And if the audience leaves wishing to brush up their Shakespeare, Auden and Dickinson, well... who can argue with such a result?

Unfortunately tickets are very scarce, so consider yourself lucky if you snapped one up before it closes on August 26th at the Avon Theatre.

Chritopher Plummer. Photo by David Hou.

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