Has something been lost in translation?
Touted as a hilarious comedy about the off-stage shenanigans of musicians, classical and otherwise, Maestro by Québec playwright Claude Montminy opened Friday at the Gladstone in its English-language premiere. The play is running in both official languages and opened in French a day earlier.
Perhaps the show skims smartly along in its original French (I saw it only in Nina Lauren and Danielle Ellen’s English translation), but Friday’s opening had the buoyancy of a tuba.
Played out against a thoughtfully naturalistic set by David Magladry, who also designed the lighting, the show finds a trio of characters vying for ego gratification, career advancement and various other forms of self-satisfaction.
Maude (Manon Lafrenière) is an excitable violinist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. By turns spiky and sycophantic, she hungers for the job of concertmaster. To that end, she’s invited the orchestra’s new Hungarian conductor, the egocentric, germaphobic and perpetually randy Zoltàn (Serge Paquette), home for dinner in hopes of currying his favour. The third corner of the ungainly triangle is Ryan (David Whiteley), Maude’s estranged husband. A would-be famous composer who makes a living scoring commercials and porn films, he’s grown tired of Maude’s workaholic ways and has been briefly living on his own. But he still longs for her company, finds an excuse to come calling and, uninvited, sticks around for the evening.