Full disclosure. I almost passed on The Dance Teacher. A sexual abuse survivor, I feared its subject matter. I’m glad I risked bringing back difficult memories though, as while the subject matter is indeed difficult, it is handled with skill.
Arrested for sexually abusing his young dance students, Justin is a consummate liar and manipulator. Easily twisting circumstances to his favour, or believably saying what he thinks others want to hear, Justin takes responsibility for his actions only when he thinks it will suit him.
It is that intricate web of truths and lies that makes Gerald Williams’ script so compelling. Helping immensely is Tony Giroux’s eerily believable performance as Justin, and an equally terrific cast. Bradley Bergeron and Georgia Johnson are particular stand-outs as the parents of one of Justin’s young victims.
Simply staged with all the characters sitting in a semi-circle around the playing area, director Gerald Williams emphasizes the action with reactions to what is happening. While there is a risk that these reactions can pull focus, they are subtle and rarely interrupt the story.
The Dance Teacher requires your full attention and even while some of its intricacies are untidy, there is a great satisfaction, like a good puzzle, in putting it together.
Wednesday, September 14 @ 7:45pm
Saturday, September 17 @ 9:45pm
Sunday, September 18 @ 5:15pm
Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.