October 9, 2008

DOES the prospect of seeing yet another “Tempest” or “Seagull” leave you cold? Then head to the Mint Theater Company, which has unearthed yet another fascinating rarity: “The Glass Cage” by British playwright J.B. Priestley, whose better-known works include “An Inspector Calls” and “Dangerous Corner.”

Written for a Canadian theater company in 1957 and set in 1906 Toronto, the play depicts the conflict among a wealthy family and the black-sheep relatives who’ve returned after many years to claim their inheritance.

Arriving at the home of David McBane (Gerry Bamman), the religious businessman and patriarch, are the rebellious half-breed offspring of his deceased brother, exiled from the family years earlier because of his excessive drinking and scandalous marriage to a native woman.

The three siblings (Jeanine Serralles, Saxon Palmer, Aaron Krohn) quickly throw the household into a tizzy, with their provocative sexuality threatening to shatter the chaste courtship between innocent daughter Elspie (Sandra Struthers-Clerc) and her theology student beau (Chad Hoeppner).

Though occasionally creaky (sometimes it seems written rather than merely set in the Edwardian era), its juicy plot and well-drawn characterizations make it consistently engrossing.

Expertly staged by Lou Jacob and beautifully acted by an ensemble of actors who slip into their period roles with ease, “The Glass Cage” represents yet another fascinating literary exhumation from this invaluable theater company.