Vancouver Fringe Festival review: Suburban Motel gets up-close and sweaty

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Intimate and sweaty.

All six of George F. Walker’s Suburban Motel plays are being presented in repertory in a room at the Waldorf Hotel; directors Bob Frazer, Elizabeth McLaughlin, and Chelsea Haberlin helm two plays apiece.

In McLaughlin’s seamless take on The End of Civilization, we meet Henry and Lily, a middle-class couple who’ve slipped several rungs down the socioeconomic ladder since Henry lost his job two years ago. He’s now being investigated for murder, while Lily has started earning money with some help from the hooker next door. Walker’s script compels and disorients by presenting the scenes in a radically disjointed order, and he complicates the characters’ emotional dynamics at every turn. McLaughlin gets excellent work from everyone in the cast, especially Sean Tyson as an emotionally unstable cop and Gabriel Carter, who makes Henry’s despair palpable. But be warned: 17 people can heat up a small hotel room very quickly. Dress light and drink lots of water.

At the Waldorf Hotel. The six Suburban Motel plays are performed in repertory nightly at 6 p.m., 8 p.m., and 10 p.m., with additional shows Saturdays and Sundays at 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. For a detailed schedule, visit www.suburbanmotel.wordpress.com.

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