While there are some quality performances among the cast of Beau Han Bridge’s new play, Above The Hospital, its story feels chaotic, lacking in heart, and melodramatic.
Above The Hospital follows a young millennial couple, Cameron and Lauren, who are questioning the pursuit of passions over practicality. Through the course of the night, their true, and sometimes ugly feelings, are revealed as unexpected guests arrive at the door to join the tension-filled party.
The central couple, played by Tristan Smith and Mira Maschmeyer, carry most the show. While Maschmeyer does a strong job with a character going through a roller coaster of emotions, on opening night, Smith struggled. At one point, following an awkward moment trying to remember what to say next, Smith leaves Maschmeyer onstage, presumably to get his next line.
Among the guests who join Cameron and Lauren are Natasha (Emma Young) and Michael (Aaron Paul Stewart), providing some much-needed comedic relief. With their strong comedic timing, they are both standouts. But while references to Vancouver hotspots provided a few laughs from the audience, they became repetitive.
The play’s short second act felt unnecessary. Flash forwarding in time, it was confusing and unrealistic, adding little to its story.
There are several times in Bridge’s play, which he also directs, where motivations feel confused. This confusion makes it challenging to connect with the characters, let alone have any empathy for them and their choices.
And while the concept of artists questioning when to give up their passions for a “realistic” life is relevant to young adults living in Vancouver today, Bridge’s play fails to explore it with any real depth.
A stronger set design, also credited to Bridge, and the addition of a sound designer may have brought an additional layer to the show.
Ultimately, the melodramatic nature of Above The Hospital, focusing on adults in their mid-twenties struggling to find themselves, gives this generation less credit than they deserve.
For those in the audience who do not fit the target demographic, it feels like being invited to a party only to spend much of the time in a corner watching others drink, smoke, and argue about things unrelated to you.
Above the Hospital, written and directed by Beau Han Bridge. A Midtwenties Theatre Society Production. On stage at the Red Gate Revue Stage (1601 Johnston St, Granville Island, Vancouver) until January 21. Visit https://www.mtstheatre.com for tickets and information.