Last night I attended The Drowning Girls at MTC Warehouse. I love the Warehouse–I am just constantly impressed by the work they do there. And The Drowning Girls was no exception–I really, really liked this play.
The moment you walk into the theatre, you are wrapped up in the mystery of it. Three lone bathtubs sit in the middle of the stage, with shower heads dangling above them. As the play begins, the theatre darkens and suddenly, three ghostly white figures pop out from each tub. They are the three dead wives of George Joseph Smith–notorious bathtub killer of the early 1900s.
The play centres around this true story and the life and death of Bessie, Alice and Margaret. We learn how each of the three wives meets George (whose name is different with each wife) and then watch as he isolates them from their families, convinces them to sign over their life savings to him, and then murders them all within weeks of their weddings.
Each of the women evokes their own unique character. There’s the sweet one, the young naive one and the older cynical one. It’s a mix that works beautifully together.
For such a serious subject, you might think this would be a heavy production, but it is actually packed with humour and laughs. Alice (played by Beth Graham) is utterly charming as the inexperienced 26-year-old. All three actors move so seamlessly between a host of characters from the girls parents, to doctors, to maids, to the Scotland Yard, that sometimes it’s easy to forget they’re standing around in soaking wet wedding dresses.
It’s like a one-woman act, but with the potency of three fabulous actors.
Of course water is the prevalent force in the entire production. The women spend the whole play moving in and out of the bathtubs, trailing puddles of water behind them. (I was feeling chilly just watching them.) There’s a neat bit in the play program where they talk about how they orchestrated bringing in the water, the cleanup that happens after every performance (including drying out those costumes), and thankfully, how to keep the actors warm. (You’ll have to go and read it yourself–I’m not giving away the ending.)
This is definitely a must-see and you’ve got until March 12 to do so!