Theatre review: Another Home Invasion – story and performance come together perfectly

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Vancouver’s street homeless are a topic of many conversations.  But while very real and very visible, the issue of homelessness for other groups in our communities are sometimes forgotten.  In Joan MacLeod’s wonderfully touching Another Home Invasion, we witness the search by Jean, in a flawless performance by Nicola Lipman, for a place where she and husband Alec can live out the remainder of their years, together.

Wrapped inside Jean’s seemingly impossible quest are the minutiae of her everyday life: the twice weekly aqua fit classes, the granddaughter who she must pay minimum wage just to get her to visit, the daughter who claims such a busy life that she is always in such a hurry to leave, and the aging husband that continues to require more and more care each day.  Opinionated, feisty, quick to judge and not a little angry, Jean is any child’s worse nightmare, but while Jean’s world seemingly crumbles around her, the strongest force in this short 70 minutes is perhaps that it all hits a little too close to home than we care to admit.

Nicola Lipman stars in Joan MacLeod's Another Home Invasion on stage at the Arts Club Revue Stage.
Nicola Lipman in the Arts Club Theatre Company production of Another Home Invasion.  Photo by Trudie Lee.

While it all sounds rather depressing, playwright MacLeod gives Jean sufficient insight and humour to elevate it beyond a simple rant about the plight of our seniors.  It also helps that Lipman is so perfect in her role that each word, each precisely placed pause, each small movement is so well executed that we are fully immersed in Jean and her world.

Director Richard Rose gives Lipman all the room she needs to develop her character with little to do beyond sitting in her chair center stage amongst a square of autumn leaves and subtle light changes.  I must admit that even while Scott Reid’s set and David Fraser’s lighting matched perfectly to the spare movements from Lipman, they seemed superfluous to the performance.

In the end it wasn’t just MacLeod’s wonderfully touching story that had me in tears, it was also due to one woman’s amazing performance.

4 1/2 of 5 Stars Another Home Invasion

By Joan MacLeod.  Directed by Richard Rose.  An Arts Club Theatre Company presentation of a Tarragon Theatre production.  On stage at the Revue Stage on Granville Island through April 23, 2011.

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