There's been a downside to the success of CBC-TV's rollicking PI show set on the Rock, Republic of Doyle, now in its fifth season: Its busy production schedule has kept creator and star Allan Hawco away from his first love, the theatre.
For those who've missed the Newfoundlander's reliably anarchic energy on stage then, good news: Hawco will announce today that he be will returning to live performance for the first time in more than five years for The Company Theatre's Canadian premiere of Amy Herzog's Belleville this spring.
In the Toronto production, Hawco is set to play an AIDS researcher without borders, but with plenty of secrets, in an American drama called a "nail-biting psychological thriller" by The New York Times. Dora-winning actress Christine Horne will co-star as his wife, who comes home early one day to their Paris apartment to unexpectedly discover her husband. Marsha Regis and Dalmar Abuzeid (the latest Degrassi: The Next Generation star to take to the stage) round out the cast.
Fans of Hawco's scampish detective Jake Doyle may not know that before the actor's TV career took off, he first made a splash with muscular productions at The Company Theatre (which he co-founded with fellow actor Philip Riccio in 2004).
His most memorable appearances were as loose-cannon sons, first in Tom Murphy's A Whistle in the Dark in 2005, then in David Eldridge's stage adaptation of the Danish Dogme film Festen in 2008. In the latter, I described his performance as "edgy and intense, like a bomb with a sizzling fuse" and "gleefully demented."
Both were helmed by Irish director Jason Byrne, whose strategy is to wind actors up and then let them loose – staging without borders, if you will. He's back for Belleville, too – which will open in association with Canadian Stage in April.