‘Lungs’ at the Tarragon Theatre – Review

By on March 9, 2014

I am a strong believer in going to a show without expectations, so if you are easily swayed by reviews, stop reading here, and just go see the show.

I want to preface this review by saying I have seen over 100 shows in the past four years, and this show makes my “Top 5” plays. I was taken on a roller coaster of emotions where I fell in love, and had my heart broken at the same time. I don’t say this very often, but I have to see this show again.

Cylla von Tiedemann

Cylla von Tiedemann

When you walk in, you can smell the strong scent of hardwood, because that’s what the set is made of, and that is the entire set, and it is in the corner of the extra space. There are no props, no set changes, so chairs, no tables, no anything. The whole show is just our two stars. Which brings me to my first point, it amazes me how the Tarragon can transform the extra space (and main stage at times) to many, many, many different arrangements.


The show is revolves around an unmarried couple and their decision and conversations about having a child. It starts of as a comedy, and it is hilarious. The couple, played by Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall, were absolutely brilliant. The show starts off with the female character freaking out…in an IKEA, when her boyfriend mentions the idea of a baby. Their comedic timing was perfect. The two of them were absolutely hilarious without having to try to be funny. This is an important key when gauging the quality of a show: how genuine are the emotions, and conversation? And I have to tell you, everything about this show emotionally was genuine.

I give kudos to Lesley for delivering one heck of a monologue shortly after the show started. It was an amazing rant which is unleashing all her thoughts of this “baby idea”, which had her delivering lines like, “It’s like you punched me in the face, and asked me to do a math question.”

That brings me to my next point: there were no changes to change the scene or the location, so it all had to be done with their words and tone, and believe me when I say, it wasn’t difficult to realize where they are, and how much time has passed since the last scene.

As the story continues, the light hearted comedy turns into a serious drama. The couple wants two very different things in life, and in career, but soon they have to accept some give and take. Secrets are revealed, and trusts are broken. Yes there is comedy splashed into the story, but there is a significant change in tone.

The true nugget of emotion however, comes at the end of the play. And that’s all I am going to say about that.

This play on the outside is about the idea of having a baby, but once we move away from that, we see that this play is about life and love – true love. It’s funny, heartbreaking, and touching all in one. There were many people wiping away tears when it came for the standing ovation.

This play is super complex, but so elegantly simple at the same time. You NEED to go get tickets now or make plans to see this show, because if you don’t, you will seriously regret it.

Lungs by Duncan Macmillan and is directed by Weyni Mengesha is proudly presented by Tarragon Theatre ends on March 30 in Tarragon’s Extraspace. Tickets range from $21-$53 (inclusive of HST) and are available by calling Patron Services at 416-531-1827 or by visiting www.tarragontheatre.com.

About Shan Fernando

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