Premiere of Whirlpool Delayed in Toronto; Previews Start Feb. 25

News   Premiere of Whirlpool Delayed in Toronto; Previews Start Feb. 25 Tarragon Theatre's world premiere of The Whirlpool, drawn from the novel by Jane Urquhart, will spin into action two days later than announced, due to the back injury of actor Michael Simpson.

Tarragon Theatre's world premiere of The Whirlpool, drawn from the novel by Jane Urquhart, will spin into action two days later than announced, due to the back injury of actor Michael Simpson.

Previews were to begin Feb. 23 at the Toronto resident theatre, but Simpson's recurring back injury prevented the cast from performing. Actor Martin Julien will take over the role and the company will be on its feet Feb. 25 for the first preview, according to a spokesman.

Official opening of the staging, directed and adapted by Brian Quirt, is March 1 on the Tarragon Mainstage.

"The Whirlpool" was Urquhart's first novel, published in 1986. Set along the Niagara River in Ontario in the summer of 1889, the play brings together five people whose lives are drawn to the swollen gorge: husband and wife campers David and Fleda McDougal (she obsessed with Browning, he with military history and Canadian war heroine Laura Secord); Patrick, a convalescing poet interested in Fleda; young widow Maud Grady, who has taken over her late husband's funeral parlor (she's obsessed with those who drowned in the river); and Maud's silent five-year-old son, Boy Grady.

In his stage adaptation, Quirt interweaves text, movement, fluid visuals and music to evoke the passionate, poetic world of the novel, according to production notes. The Whirlpool had developmental readings by Nightswimming and Buddies in Bad Times, Canadian Stage Company/du Maurier World Stage and Tarragon Theatre.

The cast includes Christine Brubaker, Tracey Ferencz, Andrew Massingham, Jordan Pettle and Juline.

Julia Sasso is choreographer. Original score is by Justin Haynes. Designers are Dany Lyne (set and costumes) and Bonnie Beecher (lighting).

Tickets are $15-$27. Tarragon is at 30 Bridgman Avenue. Call (416) 531 1827 for information.

-- By Kenneth Jones