Friday, August 24, 2012

REVIEW: Serendipity Players Debuts Dezy Walls' "Not the Life I Ordered"

The U.S. debut of Dezy Walls’s one-act musical, “Not the Life I Ordered,” is now playing at Serendipity Theatre, 500 Washington St. in downtown Vancouver, with two alternating casts.

It plays at various times, Thursdays through Saturdays, through September 2. It was first presented in Walls’ home country of Ireland.

The Story

 On the surface, the story is about the explosive relationship of two brothers, Simon (Tony Broom), in his well-ordered upper-crust life, and Jack (Dezy Walls), the black sheep of the family, with nary a pence to his name.

Actress Joni
A third character, Mary (Joni Moore), is around as a sort of Director/Manager of their environment.

It is the day before Simon’s wedding when Jack appears on his doorstep, needing a place to stay and a friend (and a few pounds wouldn’t hurt, either). Through their spirited spats and suggestive songs, we discover secrets and lies, longings and dreams. In short it is not, as the title aptly suggests, the life they wanted.

The Songs

The songs are simply done, with only a recorded piano for an accompaniment most of the time (it’s very well done, but not credited, probably Walls). The songs, in short, are the heart of the show and very well suited to the subject matter. Be warned, though, if you have a problem with rough language, this is not the show for you.

Dezy Walls (at the bike piano) and Stephanie
Andreus who plays as an alternate to Moore
at select performances. Photos provided.
All the songs are good, but the ones that stood out for me were “The Perfect Song,” “Joe Piano,” “The Stress Management Song” (actual title can’t be printed here), “Do Up Your Necktie and Dance,” “Amanda,” and the theme song for the show, “You Gotta Have a Dream.”

And, unlike some musicals, these songs are actually integrated as part of the storytelling. Absolutely super! You will want to get the CD.

It is not surprising, then, that Dezy Walls is the most watchable of the characters; he seems to fit this persona to a tee. The story is, very probably, personal for him.

Broom is good, too. His silent moment of waiting for his Mum to inspect his bed, will bring a tear to your eye.

And Moore sings and acts fine, but her character seems superfluous to the story.

The Setting

The setting is sparse, akin to a “black box” presentation, in which the story, the actors’ abilities, and the audience’s imagination are all that are needed to create the play. This is very appropriate for this sort of story. The lighting is a bit erratic, though. But the music, as mentioned is very good.

Tony Broom
The direction, by Tony Broom and Joni Moore, needs to be tighter. Too often the actors seemed to be wandering about the stage without any apparent motivation for it. And the acting could be more focused and specific, not so scattered in their presentation. But, overall, it is a good show and well worth seeing.


The Situation

A suggestion regarding the story: I don’t think it needs a play-like setting nor the third character (as mentioned). It seems to me that it would lend itself better to a two-person, Cabaret-style presentation and, thus, would tighten up the story. The songs/lyrics tell the story quite well and, I think, don’t need an actual physical location.

To find out more about this play and Serendipity's season see For tickets call 360-834-3588. To find out more about Dezy Walls go to A conversation with the playwright is scheduled at their theatre at 8:30 p.m., September 2 and is free to the public. I would encourage you to support this up-and-coming theatre troupe.

Review by Dennis Sparks, a freelance reviewer for this site, also with

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