Arts & Life, Theatre

Review: The Best Brothers

The Best Brothers

By Daniel MacIvor

Mainstage, PTE

Through November 3

In a pretty standard frame Daniel MacIvor builds a pretty fun house: a grieving household two local actors clearly having a fucking fun time filling with laughs.

Quickie plot: a parent’s death brings two opposite-natured siblings together, life lessons are learned, “blah blah blah” and we know how this ends. So really, how many laughs can the two Best brothers, Hamilton and Kyle, sneak in while leaving room for MacIvor’s modestly elegant reflections on the still fatal human experience?

More than enough. Director Bob Metcalfe and his two actors, Paul Essiembre (Hamilton) and Carson Nattrass (Kyle), open every comic gift in the script. Essiembre’s elder brother is a less flashy straight man, busy keeping emotional wounds open as he fights to maintain “things don’t just happen.” But he still gets let off the leash, yelling at existential oblivion he sees in the stare of an Italian greyhound.

Nattrass steals the show. His lips smacking, eulogy interrupting, perpetually cheerful realtor is the double joy of some truly funny material and watching a good actor take a campy stretch.

Down the street at RMTC another gentle comedy is playing. But The Best Brothers is better – tighter, sharper, closer, wiser and funnier.


Directed by Robert Metcalfe; with Paul Essiembre and Carson Nattrass; set and costume designed by Janelle Regalbuto; lighting designed by Scott Henderson; original music composed by Danny Carroll; stage managed by Melissa Novecosky; apprentice stage managed by Katherine Johnston.


Matthew TenBruggencate is a Winnipeg-based writer. He is owned by two cats. Follow him @tenbruggencate, where is he spreading nasty rumours about you.