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Theatre Review - Lowest Common Denominator is both hilarious and heartbreaking

DH Vancouver Staff Mar 23, 2014 10:46 am

Lowest Common Denominator tells the story of Harmony’s close and loving relationship with her son, Trevor. He is about to graduate from high school and Harmony is still in turmoil over her bitter divorce with her husband. One fateful evening Trevor accidentally lets it spill that he is gay to his somewhat shocked mother, who tries not to let it faze her. Harmony ends up on a not-quite-a-date with a gay man named Peter, and after being invited back to her place Peter finds himself in a compromising position with her son. The two men begin a relationship- and because of their 30 year age gap, one that Harmony struggles to accept.

If this all sounds very serious or too after-school-special, believe me, it’s not. The show is both hilarious and heartbreaking, and I’ve never heard the c-word in an after school special.

The only place that Harmony can speak to Peter rationally is in her daydreams, which find her sitting on a hot Costa Rican beach where she is able to have civilized conversation and come to conclusions as she would have them. In another part of her imagination we see family turmoil juxtaposed with vignettes of a happy family; reminiscent of Leave It To Beaver, but which end up transforming into make out sessions between Peter and her son.

Deborah Williams is a force to be reckoned with as Harmony; she lights up the room with her funny and honest portrayal a mother who loves her son, but due to her own turbulent past and confusion with her sons sexuality, stands in the way of his happiness. Shawn Macdonald is fantastic as the slightly awkward and vulnerable Peter, and Dallas Sauer gives a genuine portrayal of a teen struggling to reconcile his sexuality and his family.

We are lucky to have such amazing productions as this in Vancouver. Playwright Dave Deveau has written a touching and honest slice of modern life that needs to be seen.

I wish I could tell you that it all ends happily ever after- but you will have to see for yourself. After the performance I found myself retreating to my own private Costa Rican daydream to imagine the trio in happier circumstances.

Lowest Common Denominator runs from March 14 to 30, 2014 at 8pm (Tuesday through Sunday), 1pm Matinees: March 16, March 19 (2 for 1), March 22, 23, 26 (2 for 1), March 29 & 30 at PAL Studio Theatre.

Tickets are available at or (604) 684-2787.

Photo credit: Tina Kulic

DH Vancouver Staff
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