Monday, November 9, 2015

Nicolas Billon's Butcher at Centaur Theatre in Montreal through November 29

We saw Butcher at the Centaur over the weekend and wow was it impressive. I've not seen any of Nicolas Billon's plays before, but he's one of Canada's most talked-about young playwrights and I can see why.

The play, set in a police station on Christmas Eve, explores truth, justice and revenge via the lense of a suspected genocide on the other side of the world. The writing in crisp and the story moves at a quick pace. There are just four characters, each offering a different turn in the process of exposure, defense, prosecution, the past and the present.

I see lots of plays but this is one of the best I've seen this season so far both in terms of its writing but also the large questions it raises about all the things we take for granted here in Canada when we think about the rest of the world.

The acting is good but the final twist kept causing me to revisit certain scenes, certain lines said  by certain characters that rang false at the moment but opened wide after the twist was revealed.

Nicolas Billon has really made quite a name for himself in recent years, writing The Elephant Song (which was adapted for the big screen) and winning Governor General's awards for Fault Lines.

Butcher is also being produced in various theatres around Canada this year and next and several US theatre companies have also picked it up.

Whether or not you're a fan of English theatre in Montreal, I highly recommend this one. It was packed the night I went so don't wait too long.

 Butcher plays at Centaur Theatre through November 29.

Billon: an artist to watch

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