Ottawa Theatre Review: Sock ‘n’ Buskin Theatre Presents: The Outsiders

The Outsiders, adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel, is based on the classic novel by S.E Hinton. A firm, violent line divides two castes of people: the Greasers, a group of lower-class trouble-makers, and the Socials, a group of upper-middle classers, living the seemingly picture-perfect life- but not everything is as it seems. The storyline of The Outsiders highlights how dismal life as a teenager can be, regardless of your status in life.

From the Sock ‘n’ Buskin Press Release: “Set in 1960s Oklahoma, we meet two rival gangs: the Greasers, a group of gritty, working-class youth, and the Socs, the wealthy and privileged kids. The story revolves around Ponyboy Curtis, a 14-year-old Greaser navigating the challenges of virtue, identity, and self-discovery. When fellow Greaser, Johnny, kills a Soc in self-defense, it sets off a chain of events that force Ponyboy and his gang to confront themes of loyalty and family. This coming-of-age story will set your heart on fire.”

The Kailash Mital Theatre is located at the heart of the Carleton University campus. Parking costs about $10 for 4 hours and it is regularly patrolled (make sure that you leave your paid receipt on your dash!) There were red signs for both the theatre and underground parking, but the signs for the underground parking were confusing; they were pointing in the wrong direction. If you will be parking on campus, I would recommend arriving with plenty of time to find your way to the theatre. No food or drink are allowed in the theatre, which features comfortable chairs in raised rows, making it easy to see the stage from anywhere.

It is a story of teenagers fighting – fighting each other, fighting the challenges of life, and fighting for a future. Despite the serious subject-matter of the story, the dialogue provided ample opportunities for comedic relief, which was a welcome respite from the dark tone of the show. A content warning is mentioned in the program for the use of stage blood, gore, prop guns and knives, as well as depictions and mentions of violence, physical abuse, alcohol and drug use, sexual harassment, and suicide.

Michael Hart, who played the earnest and sensitive Ponyboy, gave a standout performance with his incredible delivery. His character had multiple monologues that he put his whole heart into, capturing the audience and really imparting the emotions of a teenager struggling through a hard life. I had chills when he recited the iconic opening line of the novel.

Philippe Doucet, who played Two-Bit, is also deserving of a shout-out for masterful physical comedy and comedic timing. Even when he is in the background of a scene, one can’t help but watch him. The harmonica was an especially hilarious touch.

A special mention for Alaukwu Anozie, who played Darry. With a formidable stage presence and a glare that could peel paint, I think that you made the entire audience nervous for Ponyboy!

Next Up for Sock ‘n’ Buskin Theatre is Murder on the Orient Express based on the 1934 Novel by Agatha Christie. Stay tuned for show times and tickets! I’ll have it posted on the events calendar once released.

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