Theatre review: The Exquisite Hour is full of happiness and hope

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Quick, tell all your friends.  I found summer!  It is hiding inside the Revue Stage of Granville Island in a production of The Exquisite Hour that is so terrifically super that you’ll want to linger and soak in its warmth long after the curtain falls.

Set in Edmonton playwright Stewart Lemoine’s charming world of 1962, we are introduced to Zachary Teale who on a bright summery day is out enjoying his garden.  Watering can in one hand and bourbon-laced lemonade in the other he is soon joined in his backyard by Mrs Helen Darimont.  As the play’s 60 minutes play out in real-time, Zach and Helen make a connection with the help of the unlikeliest of catalysts.

Nevada Yates Robart and Josue Laboucane in The Exquisite Hour. Photo by Tim Matheson.
Nevada Yates Robart and Josue Laboucane in the Relephant Theatre production of The Exquisite Hour. Photo by Tim Matheson.

Much of the success in Lemoine’s script is found in the immediate notion that there is something that his characters are not telling us and lest I spoil your own enjoyment of the tiny surprises that await I will leave you to make your own discoveries.  Coupled with the wonderful performances from Josue Laboucane and Nevada Yates Robart, who so ingratiate us into their character’s lives, we are simply content to sit back and watch as they take you to a somehow familiar but simultaneously unknown place.

There is a beautiful subtlety throughout the play that is wholly evocative of its time and when combined with director Julie McIsaac’s light touch, serves up a fleeting hour that is funny and sweet but above all else, full of happiness and hope.

4 Out of 5 StarsThe Exquisite Hour

By Stewart Lemoine.  Directed by Julie McIsaac.  A Relephant Theatre production.  On stage at the Granville Island Revue Stage through May 12, 2012.  Visit for tickets and information.

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