Review: “The Exquisite Hour” at Lunchbox Theatre

Vicki Trask

OnStage Calgary Critic

I believe theatre serves two functions: to create meaningful conversation which encourages meaningful thought, and to offer an escape from the trials and tribulations of daily life. Shows don’t have to be only one or the other but their outward presentation tends to start with one fuction. “The Exquisite Hour” – the latest show at Lunchbox Theatre – is an example of escapist theatre that still invites thought-provoking conversation. It’s a surprisingly sweet story about rediscovering curiosity.

One man and one woman meet for the first time and, over the course of an hour, find each other through creative exploration and a spark of imagination. I left the theatre feeling a sense of hope and a desire to explore. In just an hour, I lost myself in this story written by Stewart Lemoine. 

Directed by Samantha MacDonald, this two person production is a must-see in my mind. It’s sweet, and kind, and yet pushes an action outside the theatre; something I really appreciate. So, of course, I was drawn in by not only the story but the actors. Barbara Gates Wilson plays Helen Darimont, the energetic and outgoing saleswoman, looking to sell not only encyclopaedias but also a rediscovered curiosity about the world. I found Barbra’s performance to be gentle – if a little exaggerated at times – but never dishonest. Her optimistic and louder personality perfectly matched Curt Mckinstry’s Zachary Teale. Curt was very soft spoken and sweetly awkward, giving a real heart and soul to Zach as he finds a renewed sense of optimism. 

The pair seemed to work well together and absolutely created a heart-warming love story to entertain anyone who walks through the door. It maybe my hopeless romantic side taking over but I am head-over-heels for “The Exquisite Hour”. I genuinely hope you can see this show while it’s still playing at the Lunchbox Theatre.