Review: “The Good Bride” by Handsome Alice Theatre

Vicki Trask 

  • Calgary Critic

I attended the closing night performance of “The Good Bride” by Handsome Alice Theatre on October 1st with nothing more than a passing interest. I left the Motel Theatre with an aching heart to see this show leave Calgary – for now. 

This 90-minute one-woman play follows Maranatha, a 15 year old girl waiting for her fiancé to come and take her away, so she can keep house and care for her children, just as the Good Lord has told her to. From moment one, actress Arielle Rombough captured the audience with her enthusiasm and energy. You could feel the audience become emotionally invested as the show went on so that as the final scene started, we all held our breaths. It was an emotional journey for everyone in that theatre. Her facial expressions slayed me, her voices were astounding; her whole body told the story of a young woman on the cusp of great change. 

Playwright Rosemary Rowe has created an engaging tale of fear, and doubt, and hope, and uncertainty; a girl approaching womanhood with curiosity. We see her confidence and eagerness turn to frustration, and then to something even more dangerous to her faith: independence. I admit, I tried to guess where the plot would turn and I was happily mistaken. Her words were hilarious, and thought provoking – creating a world that was both entertaining and darkly real. I laughed, I cried, I became light-headed from holding my breath so much. I fell in love with Maranatha through her words and her deeds.

Reading the director’s notes, I understood exactly why Trevor Schmidt took on this script. “I am drawn in by stories that reveal the inner lives of young women on the verge of self-knowledge.” This story is exactly that. It’s about self-discovery and independence in a time of change. I applaud the work that he and Arielle Rombough did in bringing this beautiful story to life. 

I have no other words, except to say that the marriage of performance and text were so perfectly matched, I wish I could see it again. Alas, Ms. Rombough is headed up to Edmonton with another project, but I hope “The Good Bride” will come back one day. 

Thank you for bringing Maranatha to the Motel Theatre. Thank you for telling her story.