Alone’s characters open to interpretation

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In Alone, which closes on Sept. 2, a teenaged boy is caught between an exorcist and a priest in a battle to get to the bottom of what happened the night the boy was found hiding in the church.

Playwright R. Matthew S. deftly leaves trails of crumbs leading to several different conclusions in this dark religious tale. Is the priest, who calls the young boy a friend, a little too friendly with this impressionable teenager, or is the boy actually possessed? The exorcist believes the boy is possessed and has his suspicions about the priest and his relationship with the boy, while the priest is concerned for the child’s mental health believing that he merely needs the help of a psychologist.

Michael Bell, the young actor who plays the possibly possessed or just severely disturbed boy, is a pleasure to watch as he is pulled in a tug-of-war between religious authority figures. The boy is visibly uncomfortable and torn between the two men as he shakes and nervously grasps his chair. Bell employs all these mannerisms and emotions with great believability.

The friendly priest also leaves the audience unsure of how much he should be trusted. Played by David McPherson, the priest creates the perfect scapegoat with his nervous fumbling when he is questioned. His portrayal is as skilled as Bell’s. UVic’s Alex Frankson, who plays the exorcist, shows talent in his execution. However, he causes some confusion with his performance, which comes across at times as comedic. Whether that is intentional or not in such a dark tale is hard to tell.

Alone leaves a lot up to interpretation and allows people to decide for themselves where their allegiances lie. A mix between Doubt and The Exorcist, Alone is an enthralling mystery that keeps you guessing.

Alone at Victoria Fringe Festival
St. Andrew’s School Gymnasium, 1002 Pandora Ave.
Saturday, Sept. 1 @ 2 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 2 @ 7:15 p.m.
$9 (plus $5 Fringe Visa Button)

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