Photo by Brad Voss

About her.

After its successful run at the Fringe Festival, her. returned to the Toronto stage at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. The 2023 run has now wrapped up, and the critics have spoken. Here are excerpts of the reviews it received:

OUR THEATRE VOICE: An edge-of-the-seat, intense production thanks to Deborah Shaw’s understated performance. There’s a great deal of sub-contextural meaning underneath her calm demeanour. ‘her.’ becomes an edge-of-the-seat production as the story unfolds. Under David Agro’s assured direction, Shaw delivers a compelling performance of a woman who has a past. She’s commanding when she first enters. There’s dignity and class about this lady. Her diction and elocution are pristine. She’s witty. This playfulness soon changes, and first impressions of Ilsa become altered as she shares what happened in her past with Gunter and the audience. And it’s fascinating when all becomes clear. It’s quite the task for an actor to remain fully committed and in the moment in a solo performance. Shaw nicely does. By the end of the play, questions of certainty and truth of what we think we know are called into question. ‘her.’ is one of those plays that should be discussed after the curtain call. ISTVAN REVIEWS: Shaw is a commanding presence, offering us a glimpse of trauma in restrained, carefully modulated changes in demeanour. Even as she finally reveals the full extent of her story to Gunter and her persona falters, she never loses her composure, never lets herself collapse into hysteria, yet she makes the cost of this dutifully maintained poise clear to us. As Ilsa tells Gunter about her youth and early adulthood in a provincial German town, she paints a very vivid portrait of two world wars that loom large in her life. Shaw’s script establishes Ilsa as an articulate storyteller. Dressed handsomely, wielding her pretty china in front of an ornate picture frame on the back wall, the aesthetic is one of elegant, cultivated domesticity. As the trauma at the heart of her tale reveals itself, these tokens begin to feel hollow and desperate. With deliberate and purposeful posturing, director David Agro maintains an atmosphere of steadily mounting tension and dread.

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